A Promising Pair of Ebola Drugs Raises Hopes in Africa: Brainstorm Health
Happy Monday, readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
Let's start off the week with a bit of positive news. A pair of experimental Ebola treatments have proven successful enough that they'll be administered to all patients in the Congo, the National Institutes of Health said on Monday.
"Very encouraged that 2 arms of study in the DRC testing experimental treatments for #Ebola show that REGN-EB3 or mAb114 substantially benefited patients. All future patients will now receive either, in what will be an extension phase of the study," wrote NIH director Francis Collins in a tweet.
Let's break that down into simpler terms. The two treatments in question (REGN-EB3 and mAb114) are being developed, respectively, by the pharmaceutical giant Regeneron and the startup Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (although the latter was licensed mAb114, a monoclonal antibody, from the NIH itself).
Here's the thing—these two Ebola cure wannabes have proven effective enough (and amid a devastating, difficult-to-contain outbreak in the Congo)—that global health officials believe local residents will actually be willing to take them. It's a matter of trust fueled by (admittedly preliminary) efficacy.
Read on for the day's news.
Congress has noticed Novartis’ data issues for its gene therapy. Drug giant Novartis continues to face the fallout from its data manipulation scandal for a $2.1 million gene therapy treatment called Zolgensma, Reuters reports. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, is seeking more information from the company regarding its internal investigations into alleged data manipulations (allegations which led the FDA to threaten potential criminal charges). Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said last week that the company had “tried to do the right things” with regards to the data issues, and that the employees involved in the matter were being removed. (Reuters)
THE BIG PICTURE
An American abroad is being accused of running an unlicensed medical facility. A U.S. citizen is being accused of operating a non-profit in Uganda meant to treat malnourished children that, according to the allegations, actually led to the deaths of hundreds of children. Renee Bach, a missionary, strongly denied those allegations to NBC News—while also admitting that more than 100 children died at the facility she operated. (NBC News)
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