Friday, November 21, 2014
Ebola Treatment Heading to Clinical Trials
Yesterday in class we discussed when Ebola treatments would be heading to trial. Here's an article describing some of the difficulties that have arisen so far.
There are 4 unproven treatments available: TKM-Ebola (inhibits viral RNA), plasma from recovered individuals (has antibodies specific to Ebola virus), brincidofovir (a drug developed for other viral infections but shown to be effective against Ebola), and ZMapp.
On November 13,2014, Doctors without Borders (MSF) started 3 trials for treatments. The question this raises is, "is it ethical to have a control group that doesn't get the Ebola treatment?" I don't think it is. MSF agreed and made their studies with an alternative design so that everyone receives treatment. Now, there's the problem of the fact that we don't have a control group and we may not get clear answers from this study now.
Update: The trial is not random. MSF will compare survival data of all patients that now receive Ebola treatment to the survival data of all previous patients before they had Ebola treatment options. Obviously this raises many problems and defies everything about RCTs, but it seems like this is the best option.
The next step after these clinical trials is making these drugs affordable, produced, and then distributed.
Have a great Thanksgiving break yall,