Treatment trials for Ebola will begin in West Africa within a month, Doctors Without Borders announced on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports.
The global aid agency is planning to test Ebola drugs and blood from survivors on patients from Guinea and Liberia, hoping to lead to an emergency therapy that can be used to combat the deadly disease, which has ravaged West Africa, killing more than 5,000.
“This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80 percent of those infected,” Annick Antierens, the coordinator of the trails for the medical nonprofit, told AFP.
The trials are set to begin in December, and results are expected as early as February 2015, according to the report.
AFP reported that University of Oxford scientists will be handling the tests on a drug called brincidofovir at a Doctors Without Borders treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia. Simultaneously, the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine will conduct trials of “convalescent whole body and plasma therapy” at Doctors Without Borders’ Ebola center in Conakry, Guinea.
Doctors Without Borders told AFP that no patient will be tested without giving informed consent, and the care agency promised little disturbance in the patient’s regular care.
The agency is requesting that local survivors donate their blood. “We want to find out whether it works for Ebola, whether it is safe and whether it can be scaled up to reduce the number of deaths in the current outbreak,” lead coordinator Johan van Griensven told AFP.
“Conducting clinical trials of investigational drugs in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is a new experience for all of us, but we are determined not to fail the people of West Africa,” the head of the Monrovia trial, Peter Horby, added.
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