A worldwide charity foundation, the Wellcome Trust, has declared a funding of £3.2m (N860m) to allow multiple partners worldwide to set up clinical studies at current Ebola treatment centres throughout West Africa.
Wellcome Trust is dedicated to achieving improvements in human and animal health. It supports biomedical research and the medical humanities and also focuses on public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health.
According to a statement posted online on Tuesday by Wellcome, the investigational Ebola treatments are to be tested in West Africa for the first time as part of an international initiative to fast-track trials of the most promising drugs for the disease that has already led to over 2,600 deaths.
The partners in the scheme include the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium, the University of Oxford, Médecins Sans Frontières, the World Health Organisation, Institut Pasteur, Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Fondation Mérieux and the Global Health Network.
Led by Dr. Peter Horby of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the University of Oxford and ISARIC, this initiative will now allow candidate Ebola treatments to be assessed rapidly in patients so that those proving safe and effective may be adopted for use as soon as possible.
The organisation stated that several potential interventions had shown promise in the laboratory, in animal studies on non-human primates, and in a small number of cases of compassionate intervention, but none has yet been tested for efficacy and safety in humans with Ebola.
The statement read, “The funding will be used to establish a clinical trials platform involving the consortium and a number of sites in West Africa where treatments can be formally evaluated in patients with Ebola virus disease.
“Together with partner health authorities in affected countries, the consortium will assess which sites are suited for the trials, ensuring that activities do not adversely affect the delivery of patient care, staff welfare and safety, and centre operations.”
It added that the WHO would facilitate access to the treatments, and rapid ethical review and implementation of the trials in affected countries, including Nigeria.
The precise details of how the trials will be carried out are being discussed with “all stakeholders.”
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