The trials will take place in three separate Ebola treatment centers and will be carried out by three different research teams.
The teams are: The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), who will make use of the antiviral drug favipiravir. The University of Oxford will lead, on behalf of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC), the trial of the antiviral drug brincidofovir. And the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) will look at convalescent blood and plasma therapy
“This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment against a disease that today kills between 50 and 80 per cent of those infected,” said Dr Annick Antierens, coordinator for of investigational partnerships for MSF.
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The two drugs which will be used, brincidofovir and favipiravir, were chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which carefully reviewed the safety and efficiency of the drugs.
“We need to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that these therapies will be the miracle cure. But we need to do all we can to try the products available today to increase the chances of finding an effective treatment against Ebola,” said Antierens.
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Peter Horby, the chief investigator of the ISARIC-led trial, says that leading clinical trials in the midst of this humanitarian crisis is a new practice.
“It has been a privilege to witness the extraordinary willingness of all the partners in this initiative to step outside their comfort zones in order to fast track these critically important trials,” said Horby.
As the trials commence, MSF is asking drug developers to increase production supply in order to make sure that there is no gap between the end of the trials and the introduction of products found to be safe and effective in combating Ebola.