Connect with us

Politics

DR Congo records breakthrough in Ebola treatment

The two drugs, known by their lab names as REGN-EB3 and mAb114, belong to a class of treatments called monoclonal antibodies

Published

on

DR Congo records breakthrough in Ebola treatment

DR Congo’s frontline figure on Ebola voiced delight on Tuesday after researchers announced that two prototype drugs boost chances of surviving the dreaded disease.

Jean-Jacques Muyembe, newly appointed by President Felix Tshisekedi to co-ordinate the year-long campaign against Ebola, said that out of four confirmed cases in the eastern city of Goma, “two have been cured” after 11 days of treatment.

Expressing his “great joy,” Professor Muyembe said;

“This is a strong message for us that Ebola is curable. Today, the drugs are there.”

On Monday, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said two drugs, out of four being tested among Ebola patients in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, had significantly boosted survival rates.

The two drugs, known by their lab names as REGN-EB3 and mAb114, belong to a class of treatments called monoclonal antibodies, which are designed to bind to the virus and neutralise it.

A total of 681 people had been recruited for the trial, which began in November.

Data from 499 patients found that mortality among those who had been given REGN-EB3 fell to 29 per cent compared to a typical death rate of 60-67 per cent among those who had not been treated.

READ: Uganda begins trial of “MVA-BN” Ebola vaccine

The mortality rate for mAb114 was 34 per cent.

A total of 1,892 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak began on August 1 2018.

Goma worries –

The authorities’ handling of the outbreak came under severe scrutiny last month when four cases emerged in Goma, a city of two million and a major transport hub.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern” — a move designed to step up the global response.

Tshisekedi also appointed Muyembe, a veteran who was part of the team that investigated the very first known outbreak of Ebola in what was then Zaire, in 1976.

Doctors refused to say which drugs were used to treat the two Goma patients, pointing to the need to respect secrecy in medical trials.

Muyembe simply said, “We now have two drugs, mAb114 and REGN-EB3.

“These are the two drugs which we are going to use, because according to the results which we have obtained so far, these are the two drugs which are effective.”

Two other drugs that were also being tested have been excluded from further use in the ongoing epidemic. They also diminished mortality but did not approach similar thresholds of success.

READ: DR Congo’s Goma city records second Ebola death

The epidemic in DR Congo is the deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

Testimonies –

Out of the four cases in Goma, two were fatalities.

One was a pastor who had gone to the Ebola-hit town of Butembo to preach and returned home with the disease.

The other was a gold miner, who died on August 2.

His wife, Esperance Nabintu, and their one-year-old son have returned home after being successfully treated.

“I thank God,” Nabintu, who has nine other children, told journalists.

“I was ill with Ebola, but now I’m cured, whereas, my husband died of it…Ebola exists — I have felt it in my flesh. It kills but you can be cured swiftly,” she said.

“My husband died because he was taken to an ETC (Ebola Treatment Centre) too late,” she added.

Goma is capital of North Kivu, a province that has been wracked by militia groups.

The epidemic has been concentrated in the countryside in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.

But the cases in Goma have stirred deep concern, given the greater difficulty of combatting contagious diseases in cities, where population density and mobility make it harder to trace and isolate people who have been in contact with a patient.

READ: Government official says Ebola patient in Goma has died

The successful testing of REGN-EB3 and mAb114 will add to a small but growing arsenal of drugs against Ebola.

The authorities have widely deployed a vaccine made by the US giant Merck — a formula called rVSV-ZEBOV that is unlicensed but has been widely tested for safety — to protect frontline workers. Nearly 200,000 people have received the jab.

There is also debate as to whether a second prototype vaccine, made by a subsidiary of US company Johnson & Johnson, should be included in this strategy.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Politics

Liberian opposition MP accuses President Weah’s supporters of assassination plot

President Weah said the violence was perpetrated by members of both the ruling CDC and the opposition CPP parties

Published

on

Liberian opposition MP accuses of President Weah's supporters of attack on her
Liberian president George Weah. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP)

An opposition lawmaker in Liberia on Monday accused supporters of President George Weah’s party of trying to assassinate her while she was campaigning for an election re-run.

Tellia Urey, the candidate for an opposition bloc for an upcoming election re-run in the capital Monrovia, told journalists her vehicle was also badly damaged by members of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party.

“I was in a meeting with my partisans on Saturday when supporters of the CDC started to throw stones at the building, breaking glasses. I was sent to a room without window for my security. 

“We called the police, they came 20 minutes later but to stand and look… We were indoors for one and a half hours. People were getting injured. There was no other option but to try and get me out,” she said.

When they emerged, they found Urey’s car badly damaged and her driver injured. One man “came in with a knife trying to get me,” she added.

“Our campaign for the re-run in District 15 will not be possible this time because we cannot put our partisans at risk. I want to beg the international community to help us save the lives of our people,” Urey said.

By-elections were held on July 29 to fill two seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The National Election Commission announced a re-run of voting at six polling stations in the district after a dispute hearing in which Urey claimed electoral fraud.

The Collaborating Political Parties coalition to which Urey belongs slammed the attack as “another bloody day in our country’s history.”

“Unfortunately, our government under the leadership of George Weah is the promoter of violence against our citizens whose only crime is to exercise their political franchise, the same process from which George Weah and his political followers have benefited.”

Weah said the violence was perpetrated by both the CDC and the CPP and launched an investigation.

“Electoral violence in all its forms will not be tolerated, and individuals who disrupt the peace will face the full weight of the law,” a statement from the presidential office said.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Politics

Burkina Faso soldiers killed in “major terrorist attack”

Security sources say death toll could rise to 20 as more soldiers are still missing

Published

on

Burkina Faso soldiers killed in "major terrorist attack"
(File photo)

More than a dozen soldiers died on Monday during a “major attack” by “terrorist armed groups” in northern Burkina Faso, the army said, adding that it could be the deadliest ever against the armed forces.

With other soldiers still missing, the death toll could pass 20, several security sources said.

“In the early morning, the military detachment of the Koutougou department in Soum province was the target of a major attack by armed terrorist groups,” said a statement from the general staff.

“A provisional report states that more than a dozen soldiers were killed, and several were wounded.”

The assailants used heavy weapons and burnt a large portion of the camp and material, a security source told reporters. 

“In response to this barbaric attack, a large air and ground operation led to the neutralisation of several assailants,” the general staff said without elaborating. 

Burkina Faso has been battling a rising wave of jihadist violence over the last four years which began in the north but has since spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

The heaviest Islamist attack against Burkina’s army to date left 12 soldiers dead at Nassoumbou, also in Soum province, in December 2016.

More than 40 jihadists aboard pickup trucks and on motorcycles laid assault to a military post close to the Mali border.

Overnight Thursday to Friday armed men described as jihadists raided a village in the north, killing 15 people, plundering and burning shops, a regional governor said.

Most attacks are attributed to the Ansarul Islam group, which emerged near the Mali border in December 2016, and to the JNIM (Group to Support Islam and Muslims), which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Those groups are believed to be responsible for around 500 deaths since 2015. Burkina’s capital Ouagadougou has been attacked three times.

France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces flush out jihadists.

Burkina Faso has also joined four other Sahel nations (Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) in an initiative aimed at creating a joint 5,000-troop anti-terror force, also backed by France.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Politics

Kenyan authorities arrest foreigners with ivory bracelets at airport

Spaniard Maria Pich-Aguilera, 50, was arrested on Sunday evening and pleaded guilty, paying a fine of Ksh 1 million for illegal possession of ivory

Published

on

Kenyan authorities arrest foreigners with ivory bracelets at airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya. (File photo)

A Spanish woman has become the second foreigner in a week to be arrested at Kenya’s international airport for wearing an ivory bangle, the wildlife service said Monday.

Spaniard Maria Pich-Aguilera, 50, was arrested on Sunday evening and pleaded guilty, paying a fine of Ksh 1 million for illegal possession of ivory.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said in a statement she was “arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with an ivory bangle,” while travelling from Nairobi to Tanzania’s financial capital Dar es Salaam. She was allowed to leave for Tanzania after paying her fine.

Last week, a Frenchwoman was arrested at the airport on her way from France to Mayotte for possession of an ivory bracelet. She pleaded guilty and also paid the Ksh 1 million fine — the alternative is 12 months in prison.

“We noticed this new trend where ivory is smuggled through worked or processed bangles and we have increased surveillance,” said an investigator speaking on condition of anonymity. 

A KWS official, also asking not to be named, said that trafficking included “ornamentals made out of ivory”.

“It may be legal in other countries but here it is not. That is why you always hear a call to stop ivory trade all over the world because any small or big demand anywhere pushes poachers to meet the demands.”

Global trade in elephant ivory has largely been outlawed since 1989 after the animal’s numbers plunged from millions in the mid-20th century.

The African Elephant Database estimates that by 2015, fewer than 415,000 of the giant mammals remained on the continent.

Thousands of conservationists and policymakers from more than 180 countries are currently meeting in Geneva to tighten rules on trade in elephant ivory and products from other endangered animal and plants.

The plight of African elephants is expected to dominate the debate.

Some states are calling for the strongest possible level of protection for all African elephants, while countries in southern Africa, where populations have traditionally been better protected and healthier, are requesting the resumption of ivory stockpile sales.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending