Ebola Breakthrough: Has Germany Found a Cure With This Experimental Drug?
German doctors have given details of how an experimental drug may be a viable solution to add to the Ebola treatment pipeline.
A prototype drug called FX06 – made using a natural human blood-clotting protein called fibrin – was given to a Ugandan physician who had been airlifted from Sierra Leone with Ebola. Upon approval from the hospital’s ethics committee, the drug was given to the patient and resulted in successful treatment.
Called a fibrin-derived peptide, FX06 is designed to seal off the walls of blood vessels, which become permeable when infected by a hemorrhagic virus. The peptide works by binding to the surface of endolethial cells, which form the inner cell layer of blood vessels.
After a 30-day observation, along with the combination of intensive care and the drug, no trace of Ebola was found in the Ugandan patient’s blood. He was later released from the hospital and returned to his family.
While the drug failed to save a second patient, the team at Frankfurt University Hospital wrote in the Lancet medical journal that the experimental drug should nonetheless be tested.
“Even though the patient was critically ill, we were able to support him long enough for his body to start antibody production and for the virus to be cleared by his body’s defenses,” said Dr. Timo Wolf, who helped lead the research team. “FX06 could potentially be a valuable agent in contribution to supportive therapy.”
The drug was invented at Vienna General Hospital and is made by a small Austrian firm called MChE-F4Pharma.
If approved for testing, FX06 would join about a half dozen other drugs being tested against Ebola, none of which has yet been shown to help patients recover. Serum from people who have survived Ebola is another approach that has been tried, as well as several vaccines.
More than 6900 people have died during the current Ebola epidemic, which is primarily affecting the west African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.