Westchester’s Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced on Monday that a study testing the company’s new Ebola virus treatment has been terminated early — because the company’s antibody cocktail has reliably proven more effective than the current standard treatment.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been facing a widespread Ebola outbreak since last year, its second-worst ever with more than 2,800 people infected and an estimated 1,900 deaths. The disease typically presents with flu-like symptoms, but can lead to more severe issues including internal bleeding.
A trial of four novel drugs began last November, including a triple antibody cocktail produced by Regeneron named REGN-EB3. The randomized, controlled trial was ended early after REGN-EB3 proved a more effective treatment than ZMapp, which has been considered the standard-of-care since its own test in West Africa during a 2014 to 2016 Ebola outbreak.
Untreated, Ebola carries a mortality rate of around 75% but, as reported by Nature, ZMapp reduces that rate to 49%. When tested on the first 499 patients enrolled in the new study, however, showed that REGN-EB3’s efficacy dropped that rate to just 29%. Not only that, the cocktail outperformed even another antibody treatment included in the study, mAb114, developed by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease from a 1995 Ebola survivor’s own antibodies, which carried a mortality rate of 34%.
Sumathi Sivapalasingam, M.D., Senior Director of Early Clinical Development and Experimental Sciences at Regeneron called the trial “a remarkable advance in the decades-long struggle to respond to Ebola,” adding, “we appreciate the tremendous efforts of the many governmental and non-governmental organizations who made it possible.”
Regeneron’s Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Neil Stahl, Ph.D, was optimistic about the future of the new treatment in light of the study’s early termination.
“We are moved to know our therapy is helping save the lives of people facing this deadly infectious disease. We look forward to reviewing the trial data and are working with governments and other collaborators, including BARDA, to make REGN-EB3 available for the current outbreak and future use.”