Nov. 28 (UPI) -- In response to the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Republic of Congo, the National Institute of Health, along with other health organizations, is now enrolling patients infected with the disease into a clinical trial.
Since Sunday, the Congo's Ministry of Health has confirmed 419 cases of Ebola, which has so far claimed 240 lives.
The Alliance for International Medical Action will operate the randomized, controlled trial in the city of Beni and will accept patients of any age with a confirmed diagnosis of the Ebola virus.
"We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for this deadly disease," Oly Ilunga Kalenga, minister of health at DRC, said in a press release. "As we face a 10th outbreak of Ebola, we hope this clinical trial will give us more information about how best to treat patients."
For the trial, patients will receive one of three investigational Ebola drugs currently being tested by pharmaceutical companies. Patients will also receive oral and/or intravenous fluids, electrolyte replacement, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure and pain management.
The last Ebola outbreak in Congo, declared over in July, was quickly followed by a new one -- currently ongoing -- that was declared on August 1.
Experts are concerned the outbreak could spread to Uganda, which neighbors Congo, and have already moved to vaccinate health workers against the virus should it start to cross the border.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies are also guiding multi-sectoral outbreak response support efforts.
"Combatting Ebola requires a comprehensive response that draws on the strengths of all areas of public health. Biomedical research can lead to critical new tools, such as potentially life-saving therapies," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Through scientifically and ethically sound clinical trials, we hope to efficiently and definitively establish the safety and efficacy of these investigational Ebola treatments, offering new ways to save lives."