Scars of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease still linger amongst survivors after the disease took thousands of lives in the West African region. Thus, the Liberia-US clinical research partnership known as PREVEIL has inaugurated a study for male Ebola survivors with the use of the GS-5734 drug at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center JFKMC in Monrovia.
According to Dr. Dekontee Gayedyu Dennis, Co- Principal Investigator of the study, the drug has been used before in the United States and Guinea. Addressing yesterday’s regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Dr. Gayedyu Dennis mentioned that the GS-5734 drug has proven in previous studies conducted in non human primates to have cured the animals of Ebola virus disease (EVD) by stopping the virus from making copies. The Co-Principal Investigator furthered that the study is designed to find out if an investigational drug called GS-5734 can safely get rid of or reduce the amount of Ebola virus that may persist in the semen of some male Ebola survivors and stop the virus from making copies. She mentioned that the drug was also used on compassionate grounds to treat a Scottish nurse who has recovered from Ebola but had relapse of the virus, and helped treat a baby in Guinea who had the virus. The drug is manufactured by the U.S biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, based in California. She explained “Participants will be assigned at random to receive either the investigational drug or look alike placebo that does not contain the drug. They will receive a daily infusion of the drug or the placebo over a period of five days, during which time they will closely monitor and follow-up”. “To determine whether the investigational drug works, the study team will assess whether the group of men who received the drug have much less Ebola virus in their semen than the group who received the placebo. If the drug proves well tolerated and effective, participants who received the placebo will be offered the drug free of charge at the end of the study”, she lamented.