Clinical trials to try to find an effective treatment for Ebola patients are to start in West Africa next month. The medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres, which has been helping lead the fight against the virus, says three of its treatment centres will host three separate research projects. One trial involves using the blood of recovered Ebola patients to treat sick people in the Guinean capital Conakry.  Two antiviral drugs will be trialled in Guinea and an undecided location. “This is an unprecedented international partnership which represents hope for patients to finally get a real treatment,” said MSF spokeswoman Dr Annick Antierens.

The first trials are due to start next month. Initial results could be available in February 2015. The World Health Organization announced in September that experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola should be fast-tracked. Two experimental vaccines, produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Public Health Agency of Canada, have already been fast-tracked into safety trials. The GSK vaccine is being tested in Mali, the UK and the US. Research on the Canadian vaccine is also under way in the US.

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