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New trial of Ebola treatment underway in Congo as the outbreak exceeds 400 cases

"While our focus remains on ending this outbreak, the launch of the randomized control trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an important step to finally find an Ebola treatment that saves lives," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. , Director General of WHO. Monday statement.

"Until now, patients have been treated under a compassionate use protocol, with promising drugs and a good safety profile in laboratory conditions," he said. "The giant step now being taken by the Democratic Republic of the Congo will bring clarity to what works best and will save many lives in the coming years, and we hope that one day we can say that the death and suffering of Ebola is behind us."

The new outbreak, the second of this year, began in North Kivu and spread to the Ituri province in the east of the country. The two provinces, which are among the most populated in the nation, border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

The outbreak marks the tenth time since 1976 that Ebola has hit the Congo.

An accumulation of evidence.

More than 160 patients have been treated with research therapies under a protocol called Emergency Use Monitored of Unregistered and Investigative Interventions, which was designed not to test drugs but to provide them as something similar to compassionate use, for example.
With the new trial, patients can receive treatments in that framework of the study, according to WHO.

The trial is coordinated by WHO and led and sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Research of the Congo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the United States and the Alliance for International Medical Action, among other groups.

Last month, WHO convened a meeting of international organizations, United Nations partners, countries at risk of Ebola, drug manufacturers and others to agree on a framework for continuing trials in the next possible Ebola outbreak.

Over time, the trials could lead to an accumulation of tests and research that will help to better understand the efficacy of the currently available Ebola medicines and the new drugs that can be developed.

& # 39; The security situation is a significant impediment & # 39;

The Congo is experiencing not only an Ebola outbreak, but also a long-term humanitarian crisis that includes intermittent armed conflicts and violence, which has hampered efforts to eradicate the deadly outbreak in the Northeast.

Congolese health workers face violence while the Ebola virus spreads.
The Minister of Public Health, Oly Ilunga KalengaHe said this month that violence against health and civilian officials by militant groups fighting for control in the affected region has thwarted efforts to contain the outbreak.
"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing," Kalenga said in an interview. Video statement posted on Twitter..
In October, two health workers were killed in an attack, he said, and 11 civilians were killed in Beni, a city of 800,000 people and the epicenter of the outbreak.
At that time, the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, condemned the murders and said he was also "deeply concerned" about the death of the two Congolese health workers.

The United States has decided that it is no longer safe to have government personnel on the ground in Beni, said Tim Morrison, special assistant to the president and senior director of weapons of mass destruction and biodefense at the National Security Council.

The staff has been removed from the most affected areas due to these safety concerns.

"The security situation is still tenuous and it is the position of the US government, there is no disagreement, that the safety of our personnel, the safety of our personnel, the safety of our personnel is our top priority," he said. Morrison

"We are analyzing all available options to provide assistance and technical expertise to the region, but the security situation is a major impediment," he said. "This is a specific challenge from a security perspective, but it does not in any way impede our ability to provide financial and technical assistance."

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