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Human Clinical Trials Begin for ZMapp Ebola Vaccine in US, Liberia

© AP Photo / Abbas DullehHealth care workers inside a USAID-funded Ebola clinic with their Ebola virus protective gear in Liberia
Health care workers inside a USAID-funded Ebola clinic with their Ebola virus protective gear in Liberia - Sputnik International
ZMapp is composed of three proteins called monoclonal antibodies that are designed to stop the progression of the Ebola virus within the body by targeting its main surface protein.

People walk through an area occupied by Liberian refugee's stranded due to the West African Ebola outbreak in the camp area situated on the outskirts of the city of Accra, Ghana - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) launched clinical trials in the United States and Liberia to obtain data on whether the investigational drug ZMapp can treat Ebola-infected patients, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in a statement Friday.

“This clinical trial will help us determine if ZMapp and other treatments will be safe and effective for use in the current devastating [Ebola virus] outbreak in West Africa as well as in future outbreaks,” Fauci said.

The statement explained the antibodies are produced in tobacco plants that were designed to produce large antibody quantities.

Drug studies have already taken place in primates, and shown that the ZMapp drug has a strong antiviral effect rescuing the animals from dying as late as five days after infection with Ebola, the statement said.

Alberto Cagigi, Ph.D, is beginning the multi-step process of identifying antibodies against Ebola in samples from vaccinated volunteers. at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The statement said that the drug has yet to be used in human trials, but was utilized under emergency to nine Ebola-infected patients in Africa, the United States, and Western Europe. The statement added researchers designed the trial study to create a framework to decide on multiple Ebola treatments in the future.

Human Participants in the study will receive the complete standard of care for Ebola treatment, which includes intravenous fluids, balancing electrolytes, maintaining oxygen and blood pressure, and treating other infections if such occur, the statement said.

The NIAID is a Bethesda, Maryland-based organization that conducts research to study the causes of infection and immune-mediated disease to develop better means of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses, according to the statement.

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