Treatment of Marburg and Ebola hemorrhagic fevers: A strategy for testing new drugs and vaccines under outbreak conditions.
AffiliationTulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, United States.
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AbstractThe filoviruses, Marburg and Ebola, have the dubious distinction of being associated with some of the highest case-fatality rates of any known infectious disease-approaching 90% in many outbreaks. In recent years, laboratory research on the filoviruses has produced treatments and vaccines that are effective in laboratory animals and that could potentially drastically reduce case-fatality rates and curtail outbreaks in humans. However, there are significant challenges in clinical testing of these products and eventual delivery to populations in need. Most cases of filovirus infection are recognized only in the setting of large outbreaks, often in the most remote and resource-poor areas of sub-Saharan Africa, with little infrastructure and few personnel experienced in clinical research. Significant political, legal, and socio-cultural barriers also exist. Here, we review the present research priorities and environment for field study of the filovirus hemorrhagic fevers and outline a strategy for future prospective clinical research on treatment and vaccine prevention.
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