A human safety and efficacy trial for an experimental Ebola virus drug treatment opened on Friday in Liberia.
The drug, ZMapp, was developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical and utilizes monoclonal antibodies to neutralize progression of the disease and deactivate the virus. This trial is a cooperative effort by the Liberian government and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
“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,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
While this treatment has not been tested in a clinical setting, its use was authorized in an emergency for nine patients in Africa, Western Europe and the U.S.
In pre-clinical trials in non-human primates, the compound was shown to have a significant amount of antiviral activity and staved off fatalities in animals up to five days after they had been infected.
Study participants will receive optimal care that is standard for Ebola cases, and they will be split into control and experimental groups, the latter receiving the treatment. Participants will be monitored for up to 30 days after they leave the hospital.