Ebola Drug Brincidofovir Trial Ceases at ELWA 3

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The trial of the Ebola experimental drug, brincidofovir, has been terminated at the Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) due to the significant drop in the number of new Ebola cases, the aid agency has announced.

MSF said it stopped the trial on February 3rd.

“For the results to be scientifically valid, the experimental drug needs to be tested on large numbers of patients. With patient numbers decreasing at MSF’s center in Monrovia over recent weeks, it was not possible to achieve any conclusive results,” MSF said in a statement Monday.

The aid agency also disclosed that low patient numbers are also proving to be a challenge for the other trials in which it is involved within West Africa. However, it maintained that it is determined to do everything it can to make those trials produce useful results.

“In Guinea, MSF is currently facilitating a trial of the antiviral drug favipiravir, while a trial using the blood plasma of Ebola survivors started at the end of January.”

The international organization said in Liberia, it is not involved in any other Ebola clinical trial.

 “We’re relieved that there are fewer patients infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia,” says Duncan Bell, MSF ELWA 3 project coordinator.  “While it’s disappointing not to have a definite outcome for the trial, and not to have an effective treatment for Ebola, it is extremely encouraging to see the number of Ebola cases decreasing in Liberia”.

The brincidofovir trial was led by Oxford University. The trial into a potential treatment for the disease was launched in early January.

The protocol of the trial was validated by the Ministry of Health, the Liberian Ethics Committee, the MSF Ethical Review Board, the Oxford University Ethics Committee and was reviewed by the WHO Ethics Committee.

Brindicofovir is an antiviral drug that has been taken by over 1000 people for other viral infections. It has also been taken by a handful of Ebola positive patients in the United States and Europe. It has not been taken by enough Ebola patients to determine if it is an effective treatment for Ebola. It is an oral medication, taken in tablet form.

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