Survivors’s plasma to treat ebola patients does not meet expectations

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Ebola Tx is the largest clinical study ever performed with blood plasma of people that survived Ebola, to treat the disease. The study was performed in Guinea by the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp. The results of the study, which took place in 2015 during the  Ebola epidemic, not only show that this treatment is feasible, but also that it presents no risk. The treatment causes very few side effects. However, the effectiveness needs to be further examined.

Johan van Griensven, the professor that coordinates the study at ITM, turned out to be somewhat disappointed by the fact that the treatment did not significantly improve the survival of patients. “But this doesn’t mean that the study was not useful, “ says Griensven. More research is necessary to explore the benefits of plasma transfusion of ebola survivors, before a final conclusion can be made.

In a letter in the NEJM on November 14, the researchers examined whether the dose of antibodies administered to the patients, could be associated with the effectiveness of the treatment. Patients who received a higher dose of Ebola antibodies in fact showed a lower viral load after the transfusion, but unfortunately, there was no significant correlation with mortality. On October 31, the project was officially closed.

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