Apr 22, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

After Testing Potential Ebola Drugs, WHO Finds No Effective Treatment Thus Far

Nov 14, 2014 08:15 PM EST

The whole world was shaken by the Ebola epidemic, after the disease had killed one after the other with no known treatment or cure. The recent death toll for the said disease has reached 5,150 in the West African countries Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And in turn, pharmaceutical companies have been on a frenzy to produce the most viable treatment that would prevent more deaths once the virus gets to spread worldwide.

With this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun assessing more than 120 potential treatments for Ebola patients. However, none of those tested have worked, the WHO says.

Among the seen potential Ebola drugs is HIV-treatment med lamivudine. But after examining the drug, scientists found it had no effect on Ebola and therefore, should not be administered. Another is ZMapp -- a U.S. made drug that grabbed headlines when two American aid workers with Ebola were given it and recovered-- which also didn't show good results against the disease, according to WHO scientist Martin Friede in a news conference.

"The apparent effect of ZMapp or other drugs that have been tried may simply be a result of the good care that the patients had received, or the fact that they were well-nourished before they fell sick, or because of other medicines," Friede said.

"Because these patients received multiple drugs -- many of them received two, three or sometimes even four drugs -- we cannot conclude anything," he added. "We can't conclude that the drugs work. That is the conclusion."

Reports say that medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres plans to begin clinical trials next month of the drugs brincidofovir, from the U.S. firm Chimerix, and favipiravir, from Japan's Fujifilm, and to see how well blood plasma from Ebola survivors may work in curing those still infected. Other potential treatments touted in the West African countries include silver, selenium, green tea and Nescafé.

"It's understandable that the populations are willing to try anything, but there are a lot of charlatans out there who are trying to sell what in the old days would be called snake oil," Friede said.

The WHO is working on a means to provide information to the public on potential treatments that have been tested. The organization will be publishing a list of drugs that do not work and which the public should steer away from in case Ebola strikes. 

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