• Experimental Treatment with Favipiravir for Ebola Virus Disease (the JIKI Trial): A Historically Controlled, Single-Arm Proof-of-Concept Trial in Guinea

      Sissoko, D; Laouenan, C; Folkesson, E; M'Lebing, AB; Beavogui, AH; Baize, S; Camara, AM; Maes, P; Shepherd, S; Danel, C; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-03-01)
      Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a highly lethal condition for which no specific treatment has proven efficacy. In September 2014, while the Ebola outbreak was at its peak, the World Health Organization released a short list of drugs suitable for EVD research. Favipiravir, an antiviral developed for the treatment of severe influenza, was one of these. In late 2014, the conditions for starting a randomized Ebola trial were not fulfilled for two reasons. One was the perception that, given the high number of patients presenting simultaneously and the very high mortality rate of the disease, it was ethically unacceptable to allocate patients from within the same family or village to receive or not receive an experimental drug, using a randomization process impossible to understand by very sick patients. The other was that, in the context of rumors and distrust of Ebola treatment centers, using a randomized design at the outset might lead even more patients to refuse to seek care. Therefore, we chose to conduct a multicenter non-randomized trial, in which all patients would receive favipiravir along with standardized care. The objectives of the trial were to test the feasibility and acceptability of an emergency trial in the context of a large Ebola outbreak, and to collect data on the safety and effectiveness of favipiravir in reducing mortality and viral load in patients with EVD. The trial was not aimed at directly informing future guidelines on Ebola treatment but at quickly gathering standardized preliminary data to optimize the design of future studies.
    • Unique Human Immune Signature of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea

      Ruibal, P; Oestereich, L; Lüdtke, A; Becker-Ziaja, B; Wozniak, DM; Kerber, R; Korva, M; Cabeza-Cabrerizo, M; Bore, JA; Koundouno, FR; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-05-05)
      Despite the magnitude of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, there is still a fundamental lack of knowledge about the pathophysiology of EVD. In particular, very little is known about human immune responses to Ebola virus. Here we evaluate the physiology of the human T cell immune response in EVD patients at the time of admission to the Ebola Treatment Center in Guinea, and longitudinally until discharge or death. Through the use of multiparametric flow cytometry established by the European Mobile Laboratory in the field, we identify an immune signature that is unique in EVD fatalities. Fatal EVD was characterized by a high percentage of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells expressing the inhibitory molecules CTLA-4 and PD-1, which correlated with elevated inflammatory markers and high virus load. Conversely, surviving individuals showed significantly lower expression of CTLA-4 and PD-1 as well as lower inflammation, despite comparable overall T cell activation. Concomitant with virus clearance, survivors mounted a robust Ebola-virus-specific T cell response. Our findings suggest that dysregulation of the T cell response is a key component of EVD pathophysiology.