Successful therapy in Ebola. ‘Meeting recovered patients is the best reward.’ (10)
Return to Expert Center
Is there a patient story that you could discuss? A clinical case that illustrates some of the topics we discussed today. Perhaps a composite of clinical cases that you have encountered in your practice. Is there a single case? I think perhaps for me the most exciting clinical trials that I’ve been involved in are these. Clinical studies were ongoing, or I got involved in them in Showing results for Guinea Bissau
Search instead for Guinea-Bissau during the Ebola outbreak. At that time and actually even to date, there were no vaccines, no approved therapeutics to treat Ebola. There was a lot of interest in looking to develop new drugs. I was involved in the World Health Organization expert panel to review the hundreds of proposals that were put before us. We looked at experimental therapeutics. Again my bias in the context of a broad spectrum antiviral treatments prompted me to look at several clinical trial proposals. They were being considered for clinical trials. We compared these medications with interferon. We set up an experimental Ebola model system through collaboration with various people. It allowed us to do direct comparisons in our laboratory, which wasn’t a high containment laboratory. We used a modified Ebola virus. We were quite excited what we saw. Our interferon beta was the most active of all the drugs. These drugs were being considered for clinical trials. So for me it was very encouraging. We moved with a clinical trial with all the appropriate government approvals in Guinea. We actually evaluated in a specific treatment center the effect of interferon treatment on the Ebola virus disease. And at that time Ebola had a very high mortality. Death rate from Ebola was anywhere from 60% to 90%. To do a randomized controlled clinical trial, which as you’ll appreciate and as you’ve commented is the gold standard was difficult. At that time we already knew the there was a high incidence of fatality from Ebola. We already had a vast amount of data that had been collected on different patients with different Ebola viral loads different clinical markers. So we went with what’s called a single arm clinical trial. Every patient was asked whether they would like to receive this experimental interferon therapeutic. And then subsequent to that we evaluated the response to interferon in Ebola. It was very exciting, heartening, uplifting, I don’t know quite the words for me personally. We were able to see in a number of Ebola patients that we enhanced their survival. They didn’t get those symptoms that were associated with the Ebola disease. These patients went on to full recovery from Ebola. Perhaps the best part of all was returning a number of months later. And I met those individuals. I saw how they had a full recovery from Ebola.
How can patients avoid mistakes when dealing with a medical problem? Leading doctors share wisdom: