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West Africa Ebola Outbreak declared Over 0

Brussels – It’s been a long, hard fight, but the World Health Organization has finally announced that West Africa is Ebola-free. publishes a summary of the results of the Ebola-Tx trial of the effect of treating Ebola patients with plasma from Ebola, a project funded by the European Union and led by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM).

Results of the European Union funded Ebola-Tx trial of the effect of treating Ebola patients with plasma from Ebola survivors appeared on Thursday 7 January 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial showed that treatment with convalescent plasma during an Ebola virus disease outbreak is feasible, safe to use and acceptable to donors, patients and health workers. However, the treatment as given in the trial did not significantly improve the survival chances of Ebola patients. Levels of neutralising antibodies against the Ebola virus in the donor plasma used on the trial could not be determined before administration, as tests to measure these antibodies were not available on site. Samples have been shipped to France for analysis and the researchers expect to present additional findings in the coming months which may indicate whether plasma with high levels of antibodies is more effective.

Until the 2014 outbreak, blood products from Ebola survivors had only been used as treatment experimentally in a handful of Ebola patients. The Ebola-Tx trial, led by the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), is the largest ever trial of convalescent plasma for the treatment of Ebola. The trial took place between February and July 2015 at the Donka Ebola Treatment Centre in Conakry, Guinea, run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The survival rate of the 84 patients included in the trial was compared to that of over 400 patients who had been treated in the same centre in the 5 months preceding the trial.

“A single administration of 2 units of convalescent plasma does not save lives, but further analysis may reveal whether the amount of antibodies in the donated plasma had an impact on treatment outcomes. Possibly, a more targeted and concentrated use of plasma could help patients fight off Ebola. Although these results might not be the answer we had hoped for, they provide crucial information about the role of convalescent plasma against this horrible disease. We now also know this kind of intervention can be safely organised in an emergency situation,” said coordinating investigator Prof. Johan van Griensven of ITM Antwerp.

Continue reading on ITM Antwerp website

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi