Two experimental drugs are now showing remarkable results in combating the virus with survival rates running as high as 90% in a large clinical trial.
Anthony Fauci directs the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which co-sponsored the trials.
“Well, it depends on if they come in early or they come in late. If they have a low viral load and they get this drug, they have about a 90% of surviving or 10% mortality. If they come in late, it is not as good, but it’s still better than no therapy at all.”
Ebola has been sweeping through Eastern Congo over the past year, leaving some 1,800 people dead as the outbreak spreads.
The two drugs were developed using the antibodies of Ebola survivors, and will now be offered to all infected patients in the DRC.
“It’s a dreadful disease. If you can bring it down to a much lower level, that gives people a lot of hope. And that gives them the confidence to go in to get care when they do get sick.”
Officials from the World Health Organization say the results are encouraging, but warn that the drugs may not be enough to end the epidemic.
That’s because there is significant scepticism to outside help in the region, and ongoing militia violence may stop efforts to distribute the promising treatments.
Since 2013, Ebola has killed more than 13 000 people in several Africa nations.