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Ebola treatment: Clinical trials to start in West Africa in December


Clinical trials for an effective Ebola treatment are to start in West Africa in December.

The medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which has been helping lead the fight against the virus, says three of its treatment centers will host three separate research projects.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has lifted the state of emergency imposed in the country.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf warned “this is not because the fight against Ebola is over”.

It marks the progress being made in the country, where the weekly number of new infections is falling.

In a radio address she told the nation that night curfews would be reduced, weekly markets could take place and preparations were being made for the re-opening of schools.


One trial involves using the blood of recovered Ebola patients to treat sick people in the Guinean capital Conakry.

Clinical trials for an effective Ebola treatment are to start in West Africa in December

Clinical trials for an effective Ebola treatment are to start in West Africa in December (photo Getty Images)

Two antiviral drugs will be trialed in Guinea and an unconfirmed location.

“This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment,” said MSF spokeswoman Dr. Annick Antierens.

The Ebola outbreak is thought to have infected more than 14,000 people, almost all of them in West Africa. The death toll has risen to 5,160.

The first trials are due to start next month. Initial results could be available in February 2015.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in September that experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola should be fast-tracked.

Two experimental vaccines, produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Public Health Agency of Canada, have already been fast-tracked into safety trials.

The GSK vaccine is being tested in Mali, the UK and the US. Research on the Canadian vaccine is also under way in the US.

Around 400 people participate in the first trials and they will be extended to other centers if the early results are promising.

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