WATCH | New Ebola drug trial shows survival rates of 'up to 90%'

14 August 2019 - 10:32 By REUTERS

Scientists are a step closer to being able to cure the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever after two experimental drugs showed as much as 90% chance of survival in a clinical trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Anthony Fauci directs the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which co-sponsored the trials.

"Well, it depends on if patients come in early or they come in late," said Fauci. "If they have a low viral load and they get this drug, they have about a 90% chance of surviving or a 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 about 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," said Fauci.

Officials from the World Health Organisation 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.

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