April 22, 2015
KANSAS CITY, Kan.— Scientists say they have developed the first successful treatment for Ebola which works up to three days after exposure to the virus.
Animal trials have found that TKM-Ebola - which has already been given to some victims on an experimental basis - protected all monkeys who were infected with a lethal dose of the virus. Researchers said they were hopeful that the drug could be equally effective in humans, and offer more promise than other experimental treatments, which take much longer to develop.
Researchers in Texas infected six rhesus monkeys with a high dose of the Ebola virus. Half were given TKM Ebola, and survived, while untreated animals succumbed to the disease eight or nine days after infection, the study, published today in the scientific journal Nature, found. Researchers said the finding was particularly important because the new drug can be developed within eight weeks and modified to different viral strains of Ebola.
Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Hospital, comments on why this trial is an important first step, how it’s a different and potentially better treatment than the one given to aid workers in Atlanta last fall, what comes next, and how this may not only be a cure but offer a lifetime immunity to Ebola.