Wednesday September 19, 2018

Potential generic drugs used for heart-disease may treat Ebola

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New York: Generic drugs used to treat heart diseases also have the potential to bolster the immune systems of patients with Ebola virus and some other life-threatening illnesses, research has found.

Unlike other medications in development for Ebola, which attack the virus, statins and angiotensin receptor blockers, typically used for heart disease, work on the host response, or a person’s biological reaction to the virus, said a lead study, authored by  David Fedson, retired professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia in the US.

“The statin or angiotensin receptor blocker combination was found to help improve survival in 100 Ebola patients treated in Sierra Leone”, Fedson said. “This approach to Ebola treatment has two advantages,” he added.

According to him, the first advantage is that it uses inexpensive generic drugs that are widely available in any country with a basic healthcare system, and most physicians who treat patients with cardiovascular diseases are familiar with these medications.  Second, because this strategy targets the host response to infection, these drugs might be used to treat patients with any form of acute infectious disease in which a failure to overcome endothelial dysfunction could lead to multi-organ failure and death, Fedson noted.

In a pilot study, patients were given the drugs atorvastatin (40 mg/day) and irbesartan (150 mg/day) at several hospitals in West Africa.

The researchers found rapid clinical improvement in most patients.

Specifically, the drugs stabilise or restore the integrity of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels.

Endothelial cell dysfunction has been a central feature of human Ebola virus disease, leading to severe fluid and mineral losses, Fedson explained.

The findings appeared in ‘mBio’, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

(IANS)

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Lowering The Community Resistance To Ebola Is Extremely Important: UNICEF

In its latest assessment, the World Health Organization counted 197 confirmed and probable cases, including 92 deaths.

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Photo taken Sept 9, 2018, shows health workers walking with a boy suspected of having the Ebola virus at an Ebola treatment centre in Beni, Eastern Congo. VOA

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says it is increasing Ebola prevention efforts in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The agency says community resistance to efforts to contain Ebola is growing and must be fought to stop the spread of the fatal disease.

Since the disease outbreak was declared on August 1 in Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, UNICEF has been working with communities to inform them about how the virus spreads and what measures to take to protect themselves from being infected.

The U.N. agency is working with community and religious leaders in the city of Beni, where health workers are facing hostility and resistance. UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said the spread of false rumors and fear about Ebola are endangering efforts to contain the virus.

Ebola
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

“We are working with anthropologists, particularly in this Beni neighborhood, who ensure that the response is sensitive to cultural beliefs and practices, particularly around caring for sick and diseased individuals, and addressing population concerns about secure and dignified burials,” he said.

Boulierac said UNICEF is expanding its community outreach program to support thousands of people at risk in the city of Butembo. Two new Ebola cases recently were confirmed in this important commercial center with nearly one million inhabitants.

He said UNICEF is deploying a team of 11 specialists in community communication, education and psycho-social assistance. The agency also will provide water, sanitation and hygiene to help contain the disease and avoid further spread of the epidemic.

Congo,ebola
A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

In its latest assessment, the World Health Organization counted 197 confirmed and probable cases, including 92 deaths.

Also Read: North Kivu And Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children In This New School Year

The outbreak in the DRC is the 10th since Ebola was first identified in 1976. (VOA)