Antimalarial drug decreases mortality rate among Ebola patients

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Epicentre, MSF’s research branch, shows that an antimalarial drug may decrease mortality among Ebola patients.

The study involved Ebola patients in Liberia during 2014, the worst time of the recent outbreak. Infected patients who had Ebola and took artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ), an antimalarial drug, showed a decreased mortality rate of 31 percent compared to people who used artemether-lumefantrine (AL), a standard first-line antimalarial drug.

The positive outcomes were only found after an Ebola treatment center based in Foya, Liberia, did not have any more AL at the height of the Ebola outbreak, in August 2014. During that time, Ebola patients received ASAQ to replace AL. The decreased mortality rates has researchers hopeful of using ASAQ to treat Ebola in the future.

“While the epidemic seems to be coming to an end, we hope this will not divert resources and attention from the work needed to find effective treatments, diagnostic tests and vaccines against Ebola virus disease and other emerging diseases, and make them available for those that will need them most for the next epidemic,” study co-author Iza Ciglenecki said.

Organizations in this Story

Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders

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