Promising Ebola Vaccine Trial Officially Closed, May Not Be Beneficial After All

While there are not currently any vaccines to combat the deadly Ebola virus, one of the prospective drugs just delivered some unfavorable news.

While there are not currently any vaccines to combat the deadly Ebola virus, one of the prospective drugs just delivered some unfavorable news.

Tekmira, a biopharmaceutical company, conducted a phase II clinical trial that aimed to identify the efficacy of the drug TKM-Ebola-Guinea. The medication was designed to treat the Ebola-Guinea strain, also called Ebola virus Makona, responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa. However, chief investigator Peter Horby and colleagues announced on June 19 that enrollment is closed and the study is at a statistical standstill.

“The endpoint indicated that continuing enrollment was not likely to demonstrate an overall therapeutic benefit,” the news release stated.

In October 2014, the genomic sequence of the Ebola-Guinea strain was revealed and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. From those findings Tekmira was able to create TKM-Ebola-Guinea, a modified RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic. It was meant to match the sequence and target 2 RNAi triggers.

During this most recent trial called RAPIDE (Rapid Assessment of Potential Interventions & Drugs for Ebola), the drug was analyzed in patients with Ebola in Sierra Leone. It has been halted because the researchers do not foresee clear results being shown — suggesting that the drug is not a sufficient treatment against the deadly virus.

“It is a great tribute to the team in Sierra Leone that the trial has been run so efficiently and that we now have substantial experience on the use of TKM-Ebola-Guinea in patients with Ebola,”Horby, associate professor of infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford, explained in the statement.

The experimental drug was even provided to a patient whose eye had turned green from the virus and even sent to US troops back in November 2014. The trial may be closed but the team will report full results once they become available.

“While the trial has reach a statistical endpoint, final conclusions on the efficacy and tolerability of the drug must await full analysis of the data,” Horby verified.