ZMapp Ebola Trial Begins in Liberia, U.S.
A large clinical trial of Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s ZMapp monoclonal antibody cocktail kicked off in Liberia and the U.S.
The trial will enroll adults and children at Liberian Ebola treatment centers, healthcare workers who become infected in Africa and are returning to the U.S. to seek treatment and patients who become infected secondhand in the U.S.
Patients will be randomized into two arms: one administering standard supportive care, such as rehydration and medications to stabilize blood pressure, oxygen levels and electrolytes, and one that also administers three ZMapp infusions at three-day intervals.
The trial is designed to also work with other Ebola treatments, such as Tekmira Pharmaceuticals’ siRNA, Toyama’s favipiravir convalescent blood plasma, BioCryst’s BCX4430 and Sarepta’s AVI-7537.
This will be done one drug at a time, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said. Should the trial find that ZMapp improves survival beyond supportive care’s 20 percent to 40 percent mortality rate, it will become the standard of care against which the next drug is compared.
ZMapp garnered widespread publicity late last year after it was given to nine patients in Africa, the U.S. and Europe. The lack of robust clinical testing of the drug, however, means that experts still can’t be sure of its effectiveness on a wider scale.
NIAID and Liberia are also considering expanding the trial across the border into Sierra Leone. — Lena Freund