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Ebola drug trial in Guinea 'encouraging'

05 February 2015, 16:08

Paris - An Ebola candidate treatment yielded "encouraging" results in an early-stage trial with 80 patients in Guinea, the French government and medical research agency Inserm said Thursday.

No scientific trial data has yet been made available, but the preliminary results are the first to show efficacy of a candidate treatment against the Ebola virus which has infected 22,495 people and killed 8,981 in the worst outbreak in history, according to the latest tally by the World Health Organization.

"Encouraging results of the trial" with Japanese-manufactured anti-viral drug favipiravir "will be submitted shortly to a scientific journal for publication", an Inserm statement to AFP said.

The French government said in a separate statement that faster recovery rates were reported among the 80 infected adults and children who received the drug.

The results "show a reduction in the number of deaths among adults and teenagers, with slower virus multiplication. Recovery is accelerated," said the Elysee palace.

The head of France's Ebola Task Force Jean-Francois Delfraissy and Inserm head Yves Levy briefed President Francois Hollande and government officials on Wednesday, it added, and described the results as "an important step forward".

Inserm is in charge of the trial at a clinic in Gueckedou, in the east Guinea -- one of the three countries, with Liberia and Sierra Leone, hardest hit by the outbreak.

The trial, which started on December 17, was conducted in partnership with Guinean researchers and authorities, non-government organisations, the French Red Cross and aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

It is the largest clinical trial yet with a candidate Ebola treatment, the French statement said.

Favipiravir, also known as Avigan, is developed by Toyama Chemical, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings.

Inserm said the scientific results will be made public once they have been officially reviewed and validated by the scientific community.

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