13 February 2019

The Ebola Treatment Centres operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Katwa and Butembo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, are participating in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of four potential Ebola-treatments in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The trial originally began in November in another treatment centre in the region and MSF facilities are now in a position to contribute to providing valuable information on these developmental products.

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Health workers putting on their personal protective equipment (PPE) before entering the red zone of the Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC). Photo: Alexis Huguet

The treatments that will be used in the RCT are Remdesivir, mAb114, REGN-EB3 and ZMapp. They have been offered to the patients since the beginning of this epidemic under Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered and Investigational Interventions (MEURI). The switch from MEURI to a clinical trial is a critical step because a clinical trial can generate the scientific data needed to draw conclusions on how effective these treatments are. The main objective of this trial is to identify the most effective of the four products to treat Ebola patients.

The trial is overseen by a steering committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) and led by INRB (National Institute of Biomedical Research of DRC) and NIH (US National Institute of Health) in collaboration with other national and international actors.

The objective of the randomised clinical trial joined by the Ebola Treatment Center of MSF in Butembo is to identify, among the four molecules under study, which one is the most efficient one to ensure, in the future, the best treatment possible for Ebola patients. I hope that we will figure out soon which one it is, to be able to relieve the suffering of the patients”. Doctor SOUMAH Aboubacar, RCT Study Coordinator

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, DRC, Ebola
Doctor SOUMAH Aboubacar, randomized controlled trial (RCT) Study Coordinator. Photo: MSF

Butembo and Katwa are currently the hotspots of the Ebola epidemic that was declared in DRC on 1 August 2018. The Butembo treatment centre can admit 96 people, while the one in Katwa, which opened last month, has a 62-bed capacity. Since they opened, MSF has admitted more than 2,100 patients to these two centres, of which 250 were confirmed cases, with 110 cases recovering.

Find out more about MSF's activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo here