The co-sponsors of the Ebola therapeutics trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced advances that will bring patients a better chance of survival. Two out of the four drugs being tested are more effective in treating Ebola. Moving forward, these are the only drugs that future patients will be treated with. Details of the changes are available in this WHO/NIAID/INRB release.
This WHO initiative is the first-ever multi-drug randomized control trial aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of four drugs used for treatment of Ebola patients. Initially developed as a multi-outbreak, multi-country study, PALM (“Together save lives”) was launched in November 2018. It is part of the emergency response in DRC, in collaboration with a broad alliance of partners, including the DRCs National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB), Ministry of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the United States National Institutes of Health, Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Medical Corps (IMC), and other organizations.
In addition to researching the best treatments for Ebola, other efforts by team members and partners in the field are also critical in impacting survival rates. Teams of epidemiologists and community members work with communities to identify cases and provide care as quickly as possible. The teams ensure contacts are vaccinated against the disease and that their health is monitored for three weeks. Active case finding, contact tracing, and community acceptance of these teams are vital to ending the outbreak.
WHO is committed to continuing to work closely with the ministries of health of DRC and neighboring countries, and other international partners to ensure the outbreak response remains robust and well-coordinated. We will continue to conduct rigorous research and incorporate findings into the Ebola outbreak response through a variety of prevention and control strategies.