Ebola drug shows promise in some cases, but questions remain

February 5, 2015 8:03 AM

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For the first time, a drug to treat Ebola is showing promising signs of effectiveness in people participating in a study. The medicine, which interferes with the ability of the virus to copy itself, seems to have halved mortality — to 15 percent from 30 percent — in patients with low to moderate levels of Ebola in their blood, researchers have found. It had no effect in patients with more virus in their blood, who are more likely to die. The drug, called favipiravir, was generally well tolerated.

“The results are encouraging in a certain phase of the disease,” Dr. Sakoba Keita, director of disease control for the Guinean Ministry of Health, said by phone. The drug is being tested in Guinea, one of the three West African countries most affected by the Ebola crisis.

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