Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, have begun enrolling patients for a randomised controlled trial of four potential Ebola-treatments in Katwa and Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the country battles the second-worst outbreak in history.
The trail began in November 2018 but will now be switched to a clinical trial which can generate the scientific data needed to draw conclusions on how effective the treatments are.
The four treatments to be trialed are Remdesivir, mAb114, REGN-EB3 and ZMapp, with the aim of the trial to identify which is most effective.
The trial is to be overseen by the World Health Organisation and led by the National Institute of Biomedical Research of the DRC and the United States National Institute of Health.
The DRC's Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga issued a statement on the current outbreak, stating that over 500 people have been killed by Ebola and 271 cured.
It is the largest outbreak in the history of the DRC and second largest worldwide.
MSF Doctor Soumah Aboubacar and RCT Study Coordinator said:
“The objective of the randomised clinical trial joined by the Ebola Treatment Center of MSF in Butembo is to identify, among the four molecules under study, which one is the most efficient one to ensure, in the future, the best treatment possible for Ebola patients.
"I hope that we will figure out soon which one it is, to be able to relieve the suffering of the patients”.
The treatment centre in Butembo can admit 96 people and the centre in Katwa has a 62-bed capacity.
Of the 2,100 patients who have come to the centres since opening, 250 have been confirmed cases of Ebola.
According to a press release by charity Save the Children, 97 children have died as a result of the Ebola virus since the outbreak began last August. 65 of those were under the age of five.
In the past six months, there has been 731 confirmed cases, of which 484 people died. In the month of January 2019 alone, there has been an additional 120 new cases.