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Monkeys which were infected with the Ebola virus ended up surviving after they were treated with the experimental drug ZMapp in a research study that proposed the drug might possibly be effective even after severe symptoms had occurred. ZMapp was the drug that was also given to the two American aid workers who had been afflicted with the virus while in Africa.
So far, it has shown 100 percent positive results on the monkeys it has been tested on. The study has given hope that the drug may be able to fight the worst outbreaks of the virus, which has so far killed almost 1,600 people and infected over 3,070 people.
Canadian scientists broadcast on Friday that ZMapp had cured a group nearly 20 monkeys in recent weeks. The research study, which was published in the most recent edition of the science journal Nature, explained that several of the animals received the drug three to five days after they were injected with Ebola. This was the first time the drug was actually tested on primates.
Dr. Gary Kobinger, a scientist and researcher on the project spoke to the media. He explained that the study worked extremely well. He said he and his team was of course expecting some sort of improvements, in fact they were hoping for it. However the level of enhancement they saw was way beyond his scope of expectations. He was very surprised and excited.
The test monkeys were given three different doses of the antibody-based treatment. ZMapp was started on them three to five days after they had been infected with fatal doses of Ebola. Each of the monkeys that were given the ZMapp treatment survived, while three that were not ended up dying. The study was also extremely important in the fact that it was the longest that researchers had waited after they infected monkeys with the Ebola virus before they protected them with any type of treatment.
Some Ebola patients had been given ZMapp, even though the producer of the trial vaccine stated that its supply had been exhausted. Three health-care workers in Liberia were also given the drug but Liberian officials confirmed that one of them ended up dying.
The present outbreak has made over 3,000 individuals sick and has killed over 1,550 in Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, putting it on a pace that might cause more deaths than all prior Ebola outbreaks combined. The World Health Organization has declared this outbreak a global health emergency. It is even believed that more than 20,000 individuals might end up becoming infected with Ebola before the outbreak in West Africa is able to be contained, stated the WHO.
ZMapp is only one of several vaccines and drugs being developed at the present time. The United States National Institute of Health is planning on beginning human trials of a new Ebola vaccine as soon as possible. The French National Health Institute is in talks with Guinea health officials about human trials as well.
While prior research studies showed a number of treatments could protect monkeys against the Ebola virus, in most of those experiments, the animals were treated with the drugs soon after being exposed to the virus, before any of the deadly symptoms started. However, in the new study, the majority of monkeys were suffering from abnormal blood cell counts, fevers and/or other signs of the virus by the time they were treated by ZMapp.
The monkeys which were infected with the Ebola virus ended up surviving after they were treated with ZMapp in a research study that proposed the drug could end up possibly be effective even after severe symptoms started.
By Kimberly Ruble
Nature World News