An experimental drug developed by a US-based team of researchers led by a Greek scientist has been shown to dramatically improve survival rates for the deadly Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
The antibody cocktail called REGN-EB3 was developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals where Dr Christos Kyratsous is vice president of research, infectious diseases and viral vector technologies.
Preliminary findings from a trial of four potential treatments tested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the epidemic has affected 2,600 people in the last year, killing more than 1,800, showed that REGN-EB3 was so superior to alternative cures in preventing deaths that the clinical trial was stopped early.
“We knew that the antibodies worked very well with animal models but we didn’t know how soon – and if – we could try them on patients,” he told Kathimerini.
“The situation in DRC is tragic, it’s the second largest epidemic in history, with lots of deaths already, so we are grateful to our associates at the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders who were able to carry out the study,” he said.
“It is they who are the true heroes in this.”
The 38-year-old graduate of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, with a PhD from Columbia University in New York, was recently included by Business Insider magazine in “the 30 leaders under 40 who are working to transform healthcare.” He joined Regeneron in 2011 and has been working on the Ebola remedy project since August 2014.