Delays in Ebola clinical trials offer lessons for future outbreaks

After failing to deliver new treatments in time to fight the now-waning Ebola epidemic in West Africa, public-health experts are planning for speedier clinical trials during future outbreaks.

“Everyone is delighted that we are going to no cases,” says the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny, “but research and development is too late by a factor of months. We need to see what can be done in order to have the products more rapidly available for another outbreak.”

It was only in March — a full year after the Ebola outbreak was first reported — that large-scale tests of candidate vaccines got under way. Some of those trials have little chance of being completed because cases are now too rare.

Although trials of Ebola drugs and vaccines were set up at a breakneck pace compared with the years it normally takes to organize large clinical trials, the researchers behind them have been frustrated by delays. “We have said that we need to conduct trials in this outbreak, and we’ve largely failed, and that’s desperately disappointing,” says Trudie Lang, a global-health researcher at the University of Oxford, UK, who has been involved with clinical trials of Ebola treatments.

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The delays in developing trials of Ebola treatments, researchers say, were due to a disconnect between organizations caring for patients and those leading the trials; refusals to share data; and failures to perform the efficacy and safety tests that could have been done before the outbreak.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Ebola teaches tough lessons about rapid research

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