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Updated On: Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Development Issues

DRC Tries to Contain Ebola with New Medical Tools Amid Conflict

Content by: Voice of America

WASHINGTON —

The Democratic Republic of Congo has yet another Ebola outbreak, its 10th since the virus was first identified in 1976. This latest outbreak started in early August in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the fatality rate is 70 percent.

But this outbreak is far different from the one that devastated West Africa a few years ago.

Experimental treatments

Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health points to experimental treatments for those who have Ebola, one thing that didn’t exist during the outbreak in West Africa.

FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview in his office at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dec. 19, 2017.
FILE - Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview in his office at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dec. 19, 2017.

“We have five therapeutics that are available, three of which were being used actively,” he said.

Cells in our blood, called B cells, fight off infections. Two of the experimental treatments involved copies of antibodies of the B cells that could fight off the Ebola virus.

“A person was infected in the 1995 Kikwit outbreak in the DRC,” Fauci said. “The person recovered from Ebola, and we brought the person here to the United States at the NIH. We drew their blood. We cloned B cells and then we made the antibody.”

The treatment is called monoclonal antibody 114. Fauci says it’s being given to Ebola patients in the DRC.

“So far it’s been given to at least 13 people, and 11 of them have been discharged from the hospital,” he said, “which is pretty good odds.”

Many more people need to receive this treatment — and the two others — before we know if any of them actually work.

“We’re proposing a trial to compare one treatment to another treatment to another treatment,” Fauci said.

Another tool that doctors have this time is a vaccine that protects people from getting Ebola. The vaccine wasn’t available during the height of the outbreak in West Africa.

WATCH: DRC Tries to Contain Ebola With New Medical Tools Amid Conflict

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