Canadian Lab Creates Ebola Drug ZMapp: Solution In Sight?

 

Ever since the Ebola outbreak became a reality this past summer, scientists have ramped up their efforts to find solutions in treating this deadly disease.

But good news is surfacing on the medical front in combating the potential threat of a full blown Ebola outbreak.

Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Rick Sacra, all of whom were escorted back to the United States along with other patients a month ago, were treated with an experimental drug called ZMapp, which was created and tested in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, MB.

Mapp Biopharmaceutical and LeafBio, both U.S. based companies, along with the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, have also played a big role in developing the new drug – groundbreaking on every level.

Tobacco plants will be used in the production of of ZMapp to combat the Ebola Virus outbreak.Tobacco plants will be used in the production of of ZMapp to combat the Ebola Virus outbreak.

Now with the first case of Ebola being reported on U.S soil, the U.S. government is speeding up efforts to commercialize the drug. Defyrus Inc., a company based in Toronto, ON, and MappBio in San Diego, CA, are the two companies who will be working in concert together with public health agencies in commercializing ZMapp.

The news of this invention is timely as many – citizens and governments – worry that the epidemic in West Africa may balloon. Some experts suggest that the number of infections could rise to the millions later next year.

Dr. Gary Kobinger who is the director of the special pathogens research program at the national laboratory is the brainchild behind the new drug.

Earlier this summer he and his team had given the ZMapp cocktail to rhesus macaque monkeys five days after being infected with the Ebola virus.

"The level of improvement was at least beyond my own expectation," says Kobinger.

His team has not discovered any long-term side-effects in the animals that were given ZMapp.

"ZMapp exceeds the efficacy of any other therapeutics described so far, and results warrant further development of this cocktail for clinical use," he adds.

The Safety Phase 1 Trial in humans will begin in early 2015 in the United States and commercialization of the drug will soon follow.

The mass production of the drug will be done through tobacco plants in order to provide thousands of doses quickly and effectively with those infected with the Ebola virus.