ZMAPP has been used to treat several patients on compassionate grounds. Of these, two US healthcare workers have recovered, although but whether ZMAPP had any effect is unknown, as 45% of patients in this outbreak survive without treatment. There were also two patients treated with ZMAPP who did not survive, but this may be because the treatment was started too late in the disease course.
"The diversity of strains and species of the Ebola and Marburg filoviruses is an obstacle for all candidate treatments," said Geisbert. "Treatments that may protect against one species of Ebola will probably not protect against a different species of the virus, and may not protect against a different strain within the species."
Although we certainly need treatments for filovirus infections, the most effective way to manage and control future outbreaks might be through vaccines, some of which have been designed to protect against multiple species and strains. During outbreaks, single-injection vaccines are needed to ensure rapid use and protection. At least five preventative vaccines have been reported to completely protect monkeys against Ebola and Marburg infection. But only the VSV-based vaccines have been shown to complete protect monkeys against Ebola after a single injection.
"Antibody therapies and several other strategies should be included in the arsenal of interventions for controlling future Ebola outbreaks," said Geisbert. "Although ZMAPP in particular has been administered for compassionate use, the next crucial step will be to formally assess its safety and effectiveness."
|Contact: Donna Ramirez|
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston