Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences and MBP134, an experimental Ebola antibody drug from Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., were sent by the United States last week, ending October 15th, to Uganda to help protect healthcare workers reacting to an outbreak that has killed 44 people and infected 60 others, according to U.S. government sources.
The Sudan type of Ebola, one of four known Ebola viruses that can cause hemorrhagic fever in humans, has no validated vaccinations or therapies as of yet. The greatest Sudan species outbreak since 2000 was verified by the Ugandan health ministry on September 20.
At a gathering of health officials from the African region last week in Kampala, Uganda’s minister of health, Jane Ruth Aceng, revealed the U.S. shipments and stated that healthcare workers had been given remdesivir, a medication that has been widely used to treat COVID-19, and an unidentified monoclonal antibody.
According to Joel Montgomery, the chief of the viral special pathogens branch at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and incident manager for the outbreak, offering therapy that safeguards the lives of medical personnel could be crucial to limiting the outbreak.
Montgomery, who had recently returned from a trip to Uganda, stated that if healthcare professionals start to become sick and die, it’s going to significantly affect the response. In a phone interview, he explained that healthcare professionals might be hesitant to assist with the response.
The World Health Organization indicated in a statement that the organisation is collaborating with partners in Uganda to establish the infrastructure for a clinical trial and is supporting the use of unproven antivirals and monoclonal antibodies and will gather data on their efficacy.
There are viable vaccines and treatments for the Ebola Zaire species after a significant outbreak in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, but there are none for the Sudan species. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the United States government awarded a $110 million contract to San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical on October 4 for the advanced development and prospective acquisition of MBP134, a collection of monoclonal antibodies.
In non-human primates, a study with MBP134 and remdesivir revealed that when either drug was administered alone, 20% of infected animals with the Sudan species of Ebola were saved, but when both drugs were administered together, 80% of infected animals recovered.
As per an email from Mapp President Larry Zeitlin, MBP134 is now being evaluated in preliminary safety studies on healthy human volunteers. The study has been completed by all participants, and the results are now being processed. He claimed that MBP134 was generally well tolerated. According to Zeitlin, the company offers its medicine for free for humanitarian use upon request, subject to regulatory and ethical permission. He opted not to reveal how many doses the company provided.