WIKIMEDIA, PLOS BIOLOGYAn experimental Ebola serum that was given to some patients during the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa “exceeds the efficacy of any other therapeutics described so far,” an international team led by investigators at the Public Health Agency of Canada reported in Nature last week (August 29). In a study on 19 Ebola-infected macaques, Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s monoclonal antibody cocktail ZMapp rescued all of the animals when treatment was initiated within five days post-infection, when they’d already reached an advanced disease stage.
“To actually be able to reverse all those symptoms and signs and bring them back to baseline, I think that is pretty astounding,” Kartik Chandran of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who was not involved in the study told The New York Times. “If you are going to give somebody something during this outbreak, this would be it.”
Unfortunately, while the therapeutic has shown promise in people who have received it, supplies of the drug have since run out. Last month, Mapp Biopharmaceutical said its supply of ZMapp had been exhausted. While the company is working to make more, the manufacturing process takes months. In a statement to the New York Times, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Director Robin Robinson said that his agency expects there will be enough ZMapp to conduct a Phase 1 clinical trial is expected by the end of the year.