A ‘Cure’ for Ebola but Will it Stop the Outbreak if People Won’t Get Treatment?
While people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are slowly being made aware that scientists have discovered two drugs that are effective in treating Ebola, letting go of the fear and anxiety that has prevailed across the country this year will require more work.
After several months of intense research, mAb114 and REGN-EB3, two out of four drugs tested, where found to have been effective in a clinical trial, according to a joint statement on Aug. 12 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research (INRB) and Ministry of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
It is the first ever multi-drug trial for the deadly virus.
The deadly hemorrhagic fever has claimed the lives of 1,800 people since last August.
“This is very good news for patients,” Dr Esther Sterk, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Adviser for Tropical Diseases, told IPS. “It is good that these two drugs are recommended because not only do we expect them to improve their chances of survival, but they are also easier for medical staff to administer.”
The complexities of receiving treatment
But the latest outbreak of the deadly virus has resulted in fear among local communities. With the epicentres of the outbreak largely centred in conflict-ridden areas, communities there have been fearful and mistrustful of the virus and medical workers. Many also found the process of screening for the disease reportedly intimidating.
And on Aug. 13, residents in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province and a city of two million people overlooking Gisenyi in neighbouring Rwanda, was overrun by protestors after the news spread that two Ebola patients were been healed and discharged from the treatment centres.
“People misunderstood it, and thought the government and white people were plotting to infect us all with Ebola by letting these patients go home. It is only later in the day that we were told that these people were free to go because they were treated with a new cure that has just been found,” Christian Kasereka, an informal trader, told IPS.
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