MSF begins enrolling patients in clinical trial of potential Ebola treatments

The Katwa Ebola Treatment Center opened on January 4, 2019 to respond to the ongoing outbreak. Katwa and Butembo are the current hotspots of the Ebola epidemic that was declared on August 1, 2018.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO 2019 © Lisa Veran/MSF
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NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 12, 2019—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will participate in an ongoing randomized controlled trial (RCT) of four potential Ebola treatments in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the international medical humanitarian organization said Tuesday.

The trial, which began in November in another treatment center in the region, is taking place in MSF treatment centers in Katwa and Butembo, the current hotspots of the Ebola epidemic that was declared on August 1, 2018. It aims to identify the most effective of the four treatments being used in the trial—Remdesivir, mAb114, REGN-EB3, and ZMapp.

The four options have been offered to patients since the beginning of this epidemic under the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions (MEURI) protocol. A trial could help generate the scientific data needed to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of these treatments. The main objective of this trial is to identify the most effective of the four products.

The trial is overseen by a steering committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), and led by National Institute of Biomedical Research of DRC (INRB), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with other national and international actors.

MSF’s Butembo treatment center can admit 96 people, while the one in Katwa, which opened last month, has a 62-bed capacity. MSF has admitted more than 2,100 patients to these two centers, of which 250 were confirmed cases, with 110 people recovered. The trial started in Butembo on Feb. 7 and is expected to start in Katwa in the coming days.