US regulators approve 1st treatment for Ebola virus

US regulators approve 1st treatment for Ebola virus
U.S. regulators Wednesday approved the first drug for the treatment of Ebola. (Source: Associated Press)

(WWSB/AP) U.S. regulators Wednesday approved the first drug for the treatment of Ebola.

The Food and Drug Administration OK’d the drug developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for treating adults and children with the Zaire Ebola virus strain, the most deadly of six known types. It typically kills 60% to 90% of patients.

The drug was one of four tested during an outbreak in Congo that killed nearly 2,300 people before it ended in June. Survival was significantly better in study participants given Regeneron’s Inmazeb or a second experimental drug.

The study was ended ahead of schedule last year so all patients could get access to those drugs.

Regeneron’s treatment is a combination of three antibodies that work by killing the virus. It’s given once by IV.

“When you have three drugs that bind to the (virus), there’s a low probability that the virus can evade all of them,” said Leah Lipsich, who heads Regeneron’s global program for infectious diseases.

She said that should help prevent the virus from becoming resistant to the drug.

Seeking U.S. approval first is a common strategy for drugmakers developing treatments for diseases mainly found in the tropics and in developing countries.

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