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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Congo approves four experimental Ebola treatments to counter outbreak

Health officials began using one on August 11 on 10 patients and the ministry said they were doing well

A UN military truck patrols on the road linking Beni to Mangina in the North Kivu province. Sixty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. John WESSELS/AFP
A UN military truck patrols on the road linking Beni to Mangina in the North Kivu province. Sixty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. John WESSELS/AFP

Congo has approved the use of four more experimental treatments in the Ebola virus outbreak in its northeast, as health officials try to contain the spread amid the threat from armed groups in the region.

The treatments ZMapp, Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Regn3450 - 3471 - 3479 can now can be used on those suffering from Ebola, the health ministry said Wednesday. On Tuesday, health officials administered Remdesivir, which is produced by Gilead Sciences, to a patient in Beni, the ministry said.

Health officials began using the mAb114 treatment on August 11 on 10 patients and the ministry said they were doing well.

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Read more:

Ebola response in the DRC will set the tone for future outbreaks

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Congo’s tenth Ebola outbreak was declared in Mangina in North Kivu province on August 1. So far there are 75 confirmed Ebola cases and 27 probable ones. Of the 59 deaths, 32 have been confirmed as Ebola, according to the health ministry.

More than 1,600 people have been vaccinated since August 8 in Mabalako and Beni in North Kivu province and in Mandima in Ituri province, the ministry said.

Insecurity in the region, especially in what the World Health Organisation calls “red zones” where several armed groups stage attacks, is hampering efforts to treat everyone.

North Kivu is densely populated with more than one million displaced people. Health officials say the local population near the heavily traveled border with Uganda is not familiar with the disease, making outreach important.

Ebola is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead, and can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.