According to a story from PR Newswire, the biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recently announced the release of data from a clinical trial comparing four experimental treatments for Ebola virus disease. The trial concluded that Regeneron’s REGN-EB3, along with one other therapy, were the most effective. The other treatments tested during the trial were remdesivir, ZMapp, and mAb114.
About Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola virus disease is a form of infectious hemorrhagic fever caused by infection with ebolaviruses. The disease affects humans and other primates. The disease tends to occur in sporadic outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa in tropical regions. Fruit baits are believed to be the normal carriers of the virus in nature and appear to be unaffected. The virus is highly contagious through direct contact with body fluids and outbreaks can be difficult to control. Symptoms usually appear within four to ten days following exposure and initially include fatigue, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, headaches, appetite loss, weakness, and fever. As the disease progresses, bleeding (both internal and external) can occur and is a sign of poorer prognosis. At this stage, patients either die (typically from low blood pressure due to fluid/blood loss) or begin to recover. Most survivors suffer from residual symptoms. Treatment is supportive and involves maintaining fluid levels and administering blood products. A vaccine for Ebola virus disease has also been developed. To learn more about Ebola virus disease, click here.
ZMapp, REGN-EB3, and mAb114 are classed as monoclonal antibody treatments (with REGN-EB3 being a three part combination of antibodies); remdesivir is a small molecule antiviral agent. The trial, which concluded in August, demonstrated that REGN-EB3 was superior to the control arm of ZMapp in both primary and secondary endpoints. These endpoints were overall mortality after 28 days (REGN-EB3: 33.5 percent; ZMapp: 51.3 percent) and the number of days until the virus could no longer be found in the blood. The study also found that administering treatment early in the disease course had a major positive effect on overall outcomes.
REGN-EB3 was the only treatment that was able to successfully exceed the pre-determined threshold for superiority; however mAb114 also performed well and these two drugs were selected for continued study in a trial extension. The original study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.