Why in news?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) has approved the first Ebola Virus treatment drug named Inmazeb on October 14, 2020. It is a mixture of three monoclonal antibodies namely- atoltivimab, maftivimab, and odesivimab-ebgn. This is the first FDA-approved treatment for Zaire ebolavirus (Ebola virus) infection in adult and pediatric patients.

Ebola virus

Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Scientists do not know where the Ebola virus comes from.

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare but severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks.

Inmazeb

  • Inmazeb targets the glycoprotein that is on the surface of the Ebola virus.
  • Glycoprotein attaches to the cell receptor and fuses the viral and host cell membranes allowing the virus to enter the cell.
  • The three antibodies that makeup Inmazeb can bind to this glycoprotein simultaneously and block attachment and entry of the virus.
  • Inmazeb was evaluated in 382 adult and pediatric patients with confirmed Zaire ebolavirus infection in one clinical trial (the PALM trial) and as part of an expanded access program conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during an Ebola virus outbreak in 2018-2019.
  • The PALM trial was led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the DRC’s Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale with contributions from several other international organizations and agencies.
  • Testing was done in one clinical trial or the PALM trial. It was a part of an expanded access program conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2018-2019 during an Ebola virus outbreak.
  • Inmazeb has received an Orphan Drug designation. This designation provides incentives to assist and encourage drug development for rare diseases.

Symptoms during the treatment

Some of the symptoms visualized during the treatment with Inmazeb included- fever, tachycardia (fast heart rate), chills, tachypnea (fast breathing) and vomiting. These symptoms are also common symptoms of Ebola virus infection.  Hypersensitivity can also occur in patients taking Inmazeb.

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