A drug developed to combat Ebola has been phased for clinical trial on healthy, human volunteers.
Touted as the most potent compound developed so far, GS-5734, was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and Gilead Sciences. It is the most important development so far in treating Ebola, Dr. Sina Bavari of USAMRIID recently told Vaccine News Daily.
“They’re finishing up Phase 1, and I would say early next year we should have a really good idea about the toxicity of the compound in humans,” Bavari said.
Gilead Sciences said on Oct. 21 that the compound was being provided to a female patient at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The Wall Street Journal identified the patient as British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in West Africa.
“It is very encouraging to hear that the patient in question is doing better and is no longer in critical condition,” Gilead Vice President Norbert Bischofberger said in a press release. “We recognize the urgent need for treatments to address Ebola, and we are working with collaborators to advance development of GS-5734 as quickly as possible.”
There have been more than 28,600 cases of Ebola and more than 11,300 Ebola deaths worldwide in 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of those cases and deaths occurred in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The WHO reports four Ebola cases and one death in the United States this year.
Bavari said he doesn’t know exactly when the next step of the trial will begin, but that he thinks things are moving quickly.
“Early next year — I don’t know if that means March or June — but it should be fairly set to move out soon,” Bavari told Vaccine News Daily. “And they’ll need to do a larger clinical study, maybe in Africa. I would say by September of next year we should be in a different position than we’re in now.”
In the meantime, Gilead Sciences says it will continue to take requests for compassionate access to the compound on a case-by-case basis.