New treatments in the war against Ebola
A ferry docking at the harbor of Freetown in Sierra Leone. The country recorded an estimated 3,956 deaths during the Ebola outbreak from 2014-2016. Photo: Getty Images
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014-2016 claimed more than 11,000 lives. Half the infected died without treatment.
Since then, hundreds have received treatments—manufactured by Leidos Biomedical Research for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—that help increase survival rates.
Why you should know: The World Health Organization recently warned of ongoing Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. When untreated, the average fatality rate is 50%.
The challenge: Some of the regions plagued by Ebola are also affected by warzone conditions and a significant lack of resources. To develop effective vaccines and treatments, NIAID and Leidos Biomedical Research performed clinical research in the heart of the epidemic, against a backdrop of violence and very limited infrastructure.
Beginning in 2014, teams renovated clinics and laboratories, shipped supplies and trained local personnel. Within three months, their clinical studies and trials received regulatory approvals and were open to patients.
Clinical trials: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo clinicians conducted a clinical trial of four experimental therapies: Ebanga (mAb114), Inmazeb (REGN-EB3), ZMapp and remdesivir.
- The study enrolled 681 people with Ebola between November 2018 and August 2019.
- The study was designed to identify which treatment offered patients a greater chance of survival.
- Investigators stopped the trial early based on positive, preliminary data from 499 study patients.
Results: Ebanga and Inmazeb had significantly better mortality rates compared to ZMapp and remdesivir. Since then, Ebanga and Inmazeb have been granted approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper detailing the results.
From the source: "We've been supporting clinical trials in West Africa for six years," says Beth Baseler, a Leidos Biomedical Research expert. "The culmination of our work was groundbreaking and is already saving lives across the globe."
Looking ahead: While Ebola continues to cause disease and deaths in Africa, scientists believe epidemics can be stopped and future outbreaks can be more easily contained. NIAID is creating Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) centers to discover and develop antiviral drugs for coronaviruses. Funded by the American Rescue Plan, the AViDD centers could expand over time to defend against other viruses with pandemic potential.
Please contact the Leidos media relations team for more information.