The drug developer, Chimerix, announced the study’s halt late last week. The plan had been to test the antiviral drug brincidofovir, and doses for 140 patients had been shipped to Liberia. But fewer than 10 patients had received the treatment since January 2, when the trial started, a company executive told the Times.
It may be the end of testing for brincidofovir. “I think for now our plan is not to pursue clinical trials,” says Chimerix’s chief executive, Michelle Berrey. “We’ll wait and see how the outbreak goes.”
Vaccines are also in the works to prevent infection in the first place. The first major vaccine trials began today, February 2, in Liberia, reports BBC News. According to Al Jazeera, the launch of the trial was accompanied with music:
In a densely populated neighbourhood of Monrovia, guests clapped, danced along and nodded as musicians sang lyrics on Sunday that explained the purpose and intent of the Ebola vaccination trial.
The singing was part of a campaign to overcome Liberians' reluctance to embrace the vaccines amid conspiracy theories.
If the waning numbers of new infections truly indicate an ebb in the epidemic, even the vaccine trials may face trouble continuing. But as Sprecher told the Times, "It’s more important to end the outbreak than to get the trial done."