Congo rolls out trial Ebola treatment as death toll rises

Sunday, August 26, 2018
By Paul Martin

The Health Ministry has said two people who received an experimental Ebola treatment have recovered. Yet officials are worried as the virus continues to spread into conflict areas.

The death toll from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in eastern Congo has risen to 67 people, health officials said Saturday, with response efforts complicated by the virus spreading further into conflict areas.

Since August 1, there have been 105 reported cases of Ebola in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, of which 77 have been confirmed by laboratory tests, according to the Health Ministry.

Eleven people have recovered from the virus, which causes vomiting, hemorrhagic fever and diarrhea.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga traveled to the heart of the outbreak in Mangina on Thursday and witnessed two patients being released from hospital after undergoing an experimental treatment.

“These two people are among the first 10 patients to have received the therapeutic molecule mAb114,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is the first therapeutic treatment to be used in an outbreak of Ebola in the Congo. Four other experimental treatments have also been approved.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), on Saturday praised Congolese officials for quickly using experimental drugs to combat the deadly virus, calling it “a ray of hope for people with the disease.”

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