Experimental Ebola drug tests 'extremely encouraging'

Success in trial on monkeys suggests ZMapp works if given to patients early enough

Scientists have hailed “extremely encouraging” results in a major trial of the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp and called for urgent clinical tests in humans.

The drug, which has already been used to treat a small number of victims in the current outbreak, proved much more successful than expected in tests on monkeys.

All 18 monkeys given the treatment recovered, even when it was administered five days after infection with Ebola, according to the study, published in the journal Nature.

The co-discoverer of the Ebola virus said the discovery was “the most convincing evidence to date” that ZMapp could effectively treat Ebola in humans.

Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was “critical that trials start as soon as possible”.

The announcement came as a case of Ebola was detected in Senegal for the first time. A student from Guinea, where the outbreak began several months ago, had been put under quarantine after seeking treatment, the country’s Health Minister Awa Marie Coll-Seck said yesterday.

 

He had previously had contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Ms Coll-Seck said.

Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people and the outbreak shows no sign of relenting. Senegal is the fifth west African country to record a case.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that the past week had seen the highest number of cases so far during the outbreak, with more than 500 new cases since Monday, mostly in Liberia but with high rates of infection persisting in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

ZMapp, of which only very small stocks currently exist, has been used with mixed success during the outbreak.

Two American Ebola patients treated with it have recovered, although it is not known whether it was the treatment that saved their lives. A Spanish missionary priest who received it has died, as has a Liberian doctor who was one of three health workers in the country to get the treatment.

Parishioners pray for deliverance from Ebola at a church service in Dolo Town, Liberia Parishioners pray for deliverance from Ebola at a church service in Dolo Town, Liberia (Getty Images)
British Ebola patient William Pooley has also been treated with ZMapp at London’s Royal Free Hospital.

Experts believe that ZMapp’s failure in some patients may have been a consequence of late treatment.

A vaccine developed by the US National Institutes of Health and the UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has also been fast-tracked for tests in humans, it was confirmed this week.

However, experts say that neither treatment is likely to slow the current outbreak in the short term. Even if human trials are successful, it could take months to manufacture sufficient stocks of either the vaccine or of ZMapp.

The WHO predicted this week that the outbreak could eventually affect some 20,000 people.

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor