Experimental Ebola drug given to Dallas patient

The first patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the U.S. is now being treated with an experimental drug, brincidofovir, as he remained in critical but stable condition at a Dallas hospital Monday, according to a hospital representative.

Thomas Duncan, a Liberian national who fell ill after arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20, was receiving the oral antiviral drug brincidofovir, an unapproved Ebola treatment produced by North Carolina-based Chimerix, after getting an emergency investigational new-drug application granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a spokeswoman with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas stated in an e-mail update Monday.

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"Chimerix is committed to working with global health organizations and government agencies in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak," said Dr. M. Michelle Berrey, president and CEO of Chimerix, in a released statement. "Based on in vitro data from work conducted by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health suggesting brincidofovir's activity against Ebola, we are hopeful that brincidofovir may offer a potential treatment for Ebola virus disease during this outbreak. Data collected over years of clinical development of brincidofovir have allowed us to progress this compound into Phase 3 programs for cytomegalovirus and adenovirus infections, and provided information on the safety and dosing of brincidofovir to allow it to be explored as a potential therapy for Ebola virus disease."

The company stated it was currently working with the FDA to finalize a clinical trial protocol early this week to assess the safety and efficacy of brincidofovir for Ebola patients.

It said physicians had sought permission to use the company's drug, which is in late-stage testing for other types of viruses.

The hospital's announcement about the drug being used marks a change from reports Sunday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which denied speculation that the patient would receive experimental treatment out of concerns such treatments would be too risky, given his condition.

Developed for treatment of various viruses including those in the herpes virus family and adenovirus, brincidofovir marks the third unapproved drug the FDA has allowed for emergency use in patients infected with Ebola. The other drugs are ZMapp and TKM-Ebola.

Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHSjohnson


Steven Ross Johnson

Steven Ross Johnson has been a staff reporter for Modern Healthcare magazine since 2013 and covers issues involving public health and other healthcare news. Johnson has been a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Progress Illinois, the Chicago Reporter and the Times of Northwest Indiana and a government affairs reporter for the Courier-News in Elgin, Ill. He received a bachelor's degree in communications from Columbia College in Chicago and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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