A new report reveals how a doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone was successfully treated with a drug called FX06, which has been shown to reduce vascular leakage in animal trials.
He was flown to Frankfurt University Hospital in Germany 5 days later, where he was placed in a specialized isolation unit and treated with an experimental drug called FX06 - a fibrin-derived peptide that has been shown to be effective in lowering vascular leakage in mice with Dengue hemorrhagic shock.
Dr. Timo Wolf and colleagues, of Frankfurt University Hospital, reveal how the man's treatment with the drug was a success, and they call for it to be assessed in clinical trials for Ebola.
No Ebola virus detected in blood 30 days after treatment with FX06
The patient showed signs of vascular leakage and failure of the lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract, among other organs, within 72 hours of being admitted to the hospital.
After placing the patient on kidney dialysis and a ventilator, Dr. Wolf and colleagues gave him antibiotics and a 3-day treatment course with FX06 in order to prevent further vascular leakage.
Initially, the patient received 400 mg of FX06 intravenously - 200 mg were administered via a slow bolus injection (an injection that increases the concentration of a drug so it acts faster) and 10 minutes after, another 200-mg dose was given. The patient then received 200 mg of FX06 via an intravenous bolus injection every 12 hours thereafter for 3 days.
Following the treatment, Dr. Wolf and colleagues say they saw a significant improvement in the patient's respiratory and vascular function. This coincided with a reduced viral load in his blood. After 30 days, no Ebola virus could be detected. The doctor has now made a full recovery.
Based on this case, the authors believe FX06 should be evaluated further for treatment of Ebola:
"We suggest FX06 as a potentially valuable therapeutic candidate for vascular leak syndrome in Ebola virus disease.
In view of the urgency for action in light of the current epidemic, where validated therapies are desperately needed, the efficacy of FX06 should soon be assessed in clinical trials or at least by standardized collection of data from patients with Ebola virus disease who received it in a compassionate use setting."
Ebola: the ongoing search for treatments
The global death toll from this year's Ebola outbreak is almost at 7,000, emphasizing the urgent need for ways to treat the disease. And researchers are certainly on the case.
- In the 2014 outbreak, there have been 18,603 reported cases of Ebola and 6,915 reported deaths from the virus so far
- The majority of Ebola cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, although there is evidence that Ebola incidence is slowing in Sierra Leone
- The World Health Organization (WHO) have now implemented a 90-day plan to control and reverse the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
This week, Medical News Today reported on a study published in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections, in which researchers claim to have identified 53 existing treatments that can stop the Ebola virus from entering human cells.
In November, research published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics detailed how a single-dosed inhaled vaccine appears to offer long-lasting protection against Ebola.
And in the same month, we reported on the results of a small trial testing a potential Ebola vaccine, created by researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and global health care company GlaxoSmithKline.
The vaccine - which was tested on 20 people - appears to be safe, well tolerated and produces an effective immune response against Ebola virus disease, according to the study.
In an editorial linked to the study, Daniel D. Bausch, an associate professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA, says the findings bring us closer to finding an effective treatment for Ebola.
"The road is still long and there are many challenges, but we are nevertheless one step closer to a solution," he adds.