A Cure for Ebola on the Horizon: The Candidates in the Race Towards a Cure
In light of the current Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, there has been a surge in efforts to find and develop a cure for the deadly disease. Reports have confirmed that Mapp Biopharmaceuticals and LeafBio have sent their experimental ebola treatment ZMapp to help cure aid workers in Liberia. Zmapp has also been used on the two American doctors who contracted Ebola, and their condition is reportedly improving. In addition to ZMapp, many other pharmaceutical companies are also developing preventative and therapeutic drugs, with the aim of coming out on top as ‘the curers of Ebola.’
1. Zmapp – Therapeutic
Zmapp, developed by a collaboration between LeafBio and Mapp Biopharmaceuticals Inc, is a therapeutic drug consisting of a cocktail of three different monoclonal antibodies that bind to the glycoprotein case of the ebolavirus. It is manufactured via tobacco plants. The drug was fist identified as a candidate as early as January 2014 and has undergone extensive preclinical trials since then, however it has not gone through phase 1 trials yet and is still considered experimental by the FDA. Authorisation has been given to send courses of this treatment to the countries that have been hit by the outbreak, however, since the drug is still only at an experimental stage, few courses of it have been manufactured. Seeing as the drug has not gone through phase 1 trials as yet, it remains unknown as to whether it is safe and effective or not.