Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Medical officials believe they're so close to a cure for Ebola that they've stopped a random drug trial to give patients in the Congo two new treatments, which they say have so far shown remarkable effectiveness killing the virus.
Researchers began trials with four treatments last fall. Monday, they said two had worked remarkably well for 500 patients who'd received them. Known as REGN-EB3 and mAb114, the treatments are now being offered to all Ebola patients in the Congo, and the other two have stopped entirely.
Nearly 2,000 people in the Congo have died of Ebola in the past year.
"From now on, we will no longer say that Ebola is incurable," said Prof Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director-general of the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale. "These advances will help save thousands of lives."
Jeremy Farrar, director of British charity Wellcome Trust, said the breakthrough brings scientists a step closer to curing Ebola and developing a vaccine.
"We won't ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics," he said.
"As a result of [an] August 9, 2019 review, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended that the study be stopped and that all future patients be randomized to receive either REGN-EB3 or mAb114 in what is being considered an extension phase of the study," the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in a statement.
Historically, 70 percent of those infected with Ebola in the Congo have died.
"It means we do have now what looks like treatments for a disease which, not too long ago, we really had no therapeutic approach at all," NIAID head Anthony Fauci told reporters.