The ZMapp, the drug presented as a miracle worker during the Ebola outbreak offered mixed results and raised question after its actual efficiency could not be truly tested as the trial test featured a too small number of subjects.
The trial testing for the drug began in March 2015 just as the deadly virus’ spread was coming to a stop. Researchers had originally aimed for a 200 patients number, but the study only managed to enroll 72 people as new cases of the disease were fewer and farther in between.
The study, which resulted in a total of 30 percent Ebola caused deaths, was based on a random distribution of the drug treatment, with 36 out of the 72 cases receiving the ZMapp. The drug totaled a number of 8 deaths which led to a 22 percent mortality rate, lower than the 37 percent rate registered by the supportive care which only featured hydration and hospital care measures.
The results of the trial offered encouraging numbers as statistically speaking, ZMapp showed a 91 percent higher chance of effectiveness than the available standard care. The sufferers who received the drug also presented a 40 percent lower death risk.
Still, the reduced number of patients garnered inconclusive results, as scientists explain that the difference between drug-treated cures and chance healings is hard to determine. Also, the 97.5 percent quota established by researchers before the study was not reached. This represents the effectiveness percentage the drug should have reached before being declared superior to standard support measures.
Another hard to determine contributing factor is the drug’s late administration. Previous animal test results showed a higher degree of efficiency in cases where the ZMapp began being used within a five-day period from the moment of infestation. Data shows that most human trial patients received the drug well over a week after they contracted the virus.
The ZMapp test results were announced in February, but the full report was released this Wednesday as all available data was gathered and analyzed. It was determined that 7 out of the 8 ZMapp patient deaths occurred before the treatment was completed, as the people passed away before the day 4 stage.
Even though it was marked inconclusive, the ZMapp test offers the only scientifically attested Ebola cure method. Scientists are optimistic as to the drug’s development and efficiency, while the ZMapp producer declared that the company will seek to attest and license the use of their drug as the cure for Ebola.
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