Antibody treatment becomes the first FDA-approved drug for Ebola

Antibody treatment becomes the first FDA-approved drug for Ebola
Antibody treatment becomes the first FDA-approved drug for Ebola
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first treatment for it Zaire-Ebolavirus (Ebola Virus). The antibody drug called Inmazeb is a cocktail of antiviral antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to fight the deadly disease that continues to plague the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The novel treatment helps fight that off Zaire-Ebolavirus Infection in both adult and young patients was approved for widespread use after a large 2019 study that was found to be safe and effective in reducing mortality in infected patients. The drug called REGN-EB3 (commercially Inmazeb) is most effective when given early during an Ebola infection.

It is now being used in conjunction with Merck’s Ervebo, the first FDA-cleared vaccine for Ebola, as a two-pronged defense against the outbreaks across Africa.

“We are incredibly proud that the FDA approved Inmazeb, also known as REGN-EB3. This is the first time the FDA has approved a treatment specific to Ebola, which has caused a number of fatal outbreaks, “Regeneron’s president and chief scientist George D. Yancopoulos said in a statement.

On June 1, 2020, the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced its 11th Ebola virus outbreak, which is still ongoing. By September 2, the outbreak had killed 47 people. The 10th outbreak was the second largest on record, killing 2,299 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Inmazeb contains antibodies that bind directly to the Zaire-Ebolavirus and blocks the molecules that allow virus particles to attach to human cells. These molecules, called glycoproteins, bind to human cell receptors and provide a route for the virus to enter the cell, where it replicates and wages war against the immune system. Instead, the antibody cocktail contained in Inmazeb binds to the virus glycoprotein and blocks the binding site (epitope). By blocking this method of entry, the antibodies can prevent the virus from spreading and damaging host cells.

The medicine has notable side effects including fever, chills, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnea (rapid breathing), and vomiting. While these symptoms are related to Inmazeb, they are also symptoms of the Ebola virus and could be directly related to the infection instead of the drug.

Now Regeneron hopes to provide free life-saving medication for compassionate use to people living under the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistred and Investigational Interventions (MEURI) protocol. The US has also ordered Inmazeb to prepare for possible future public health emergencies.

Inmazeb isn’t the only project Regeneron has worked on, however. You may recognize the name from another antibody drug (REGN-COV2) that U.S. President Donald took during his fight against Covid-19. The company is still actively working on a safe and effective Covid-19 treatment, and while the REGN-COV2 looks promising, it is still in the experimental phase.

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