Ebola drug trial starts in Liberia

2015-02-27 21:12

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Monrovia - Liberia on Friday started a clinical trial of experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, a health official said.

About 1 000 adults and children infected with the virus are participating in the trial in two treatment centres in the capital, Monrovia, said Jerry Brown, one of the trial's principal co-ordinators.

Liberia's health department is conducting the trial with support from the United States national institute of allergy and infectious diseases.

Nine Ebola patients worldwide received ZMapp at the height of the Ebola outbreak last year, according to Brown, of whom six survived.

The institute's director Anthony Fauci said in a statement: "Although ZMapp has been used to treat several Ebola-infected patients in recent months, we cannot determine if the drug actually helped those patients because it was not administered within the context of a clinical trial.

Future outbreaks

"This clinical trial will help us determine if ZMapp and other treatments are safe and effective for use in the current devastating outbreak in West Africa as well as in future outbreaks," Fauci added.

With 9 238 reported infections and 4 037 deaths, Liberia is one of the countries worst hit by an Ebola epidemic that broke out in December 2013 in neighbouring Guinea.

The number of people who have become infected with Ebola in the last 14 months has reached 23 729 worldwide, of which 9 604 died, according to the World Health Organisation.

Read more on:    who  |  ebola  |  liberia  |  west africa

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