Trial of convalescent plasma to treat Ebola shows it is safe but needs more data to determine benefits
Results of the EU funded Ebola-Tx trial, where Ebola patients were treated with plasma from survivors has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine with further information on the design and analysis in Clinical Trials. The trial showed that the treatment was safe to use, however, it did not significantly improve the survival chances of Ebola patients. Tansy Edwards, Peter Smith and Neal Alexander of the Tropical Epidemiology Group worked closely with the lead collaborators at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp to design the Ebola_Tx trial and analyse the data.
“Ebola-Tx is the largest controlled trial to be carried out to investigate convalescent plasma from survivors as a therapeutic treatment for Ebola. This study demonstrates that it is possible to rapidly form a Consortium of national and international research partners and to conduct a treatment trial to a high standard in the emergency setting of an Ebola outbreak. The nature of the unprecedented outbreak meant that we had to design a trial that could be adapted to the evolving epidemic and address analytical challenges in the face of many uncertainties” Tansy Edwards
“While it was not possible to conduct a randomised trial in the circumstances of the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, the results of this important study indicate that treatment with convalescent plasma from unselected Ebola survivors is unlikely to markedly improve Ebola survival rates. This treatment was relatively complicated treatment to set up and administer and it is very disappointing that, despite these efforts, there was no significant impact on survival. We cannot exclude the possibility that selecting plasma donors with high levels of antibodies against the Ebola virus might be more effective, and this is a direction for future research” Peter Smith
Unpicking statistics – the stories behind the numbers
For World Statistics Day, Dr Vicky Simms and Dr Andrea Rehman from TEG visited a school in Camden and challenged Year 10 students to answer the question “How can we make the world a better place?” Read about their visit here.
12th AIDSImpact conference, July 2015
Field Trials of Health Interventions: A Toolbox (3rd Edition)
The 3rd Edition of Peter Smith, Dick Morrow and David Ross’ edited book: Field Trials of Health Interventions: A Toolbox is now available to download here. The toolbox is a practical guide covering the design, conduct & analysis of trials in low- and middle-income countries. It has been completely updated and expanded to include chapters on aspects such as questionnaire design, ethics, trial governance and grant applications.
Publication of the month
Andrew Bastawrous, MBChB, BSc(Hons), FHEA, MRCOphth; Mario Ettore Giardini, PhD; Nigel M. Bolster, MEng; Tunde Peto, MD, PhD; Nisha Shah, MSc; Iain A. T. Livingstone, FRCOphth; Helen A. Weiss, PhD; Sen Hu, MSc; Hillary Rono, MBBS; Hannah Kuper, ScD; Matthew Burton, PhD, MA, MBBCh, MRCP, MRCOphth, DTM&H