Ebola survivors reunited with family in DR Congo

Tuesday August 13 2019

Two Ebola survivors in DR Congo. They were reunited with their family after they were cured. PHOTO | BBC


Two people cured of Ebola using two experimental treatments have been released from a treatment centre in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and reunited with their families.

They had been among a group of four diagnosed in Goma, the largest city affected by the outbreak that has so far killed at least 1,800 people. The two others in that group have since died.

The survivors are the widow and child of a man who died after contracting Ebola.

Scientists however are hopeful that Ebola may soon be a preventable and treatable disease after promising clinical trials of two drugs which, according to expert Dr Sabue Mulangu, saw 60 percent of the 681 patients survive.

With early diagnosis and treatment, however, more than 90 percent of infected people can survive if they are given REGN-EB3 and mAb114, researchers say.

These two drugs were developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola. Trials were then co-ordinated by the World Health Organization, and its panel has now recommended the treatments for use by all patients.


The drugs work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralising its impact on human cells.

The current outbreak in eastern DR Congo began in August last year and is the biggest of the 10 to hit the country since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.

But it is dwarfed by the West African epidemic of 2014-16, which affected 28,616 people mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,310 people died in what was the largest outbreak of the virus ever recorded.