The Wellcome-funded trial used a new design to compared results from 14 people who received the drug with historical records of Ebola patients, instead of using a placebo control group.
This design allowed the team to determine very quickly, in the midst of the ongoing epidemic, whether or not the drug was working. This meant that they could stop the trial immediately when it became clear the drug was not benefitting patients.
Professor Peter Horby from the University of Oxford, who led the study, said they now had a much clearer picture of the drug’s potential, adding: “We are obviously disappointed that it does not seem to offer a benefit to patients with severe Ebola but it remains to be seen if the drug will help those with less severe illness.”
Scientists from the University of Oxford and Sierra Leone worked with the humanitarian organisation GOAL Global, the World Health Organisation, and collaborators from a number of other institutions on the study, which took place last year at the GOAL Ebola Treatment Centre in Port Loko, Sierra Leone.