By: R. Joyclyn Wea
The Partnership for Research on Vaccines And Infectious Diseases in Liberia (PREVAIL) on Thursday, march 21, 2019 released update on survivors in Liberia that is being funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The study found out that the health problems among releases report on the health status of survivors from the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the country.
The five-year study of Ebola survivors improved during their first year of follow-up.
“The Liberian government, through the ministry of health, would like to thank the researchers and the brave Ebola survivors for their contributions to this study.
Although survivors initially reported symptoms of urinary frequency, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, memory loss, and joint pain more often than their close contacts in the study, the occurrence of these symptoms and other physical exam findings went down in both groups over a year. Nevertheless, both Ebola survivors and their close contacts were found to have any health problems overall. These are among the first year study findings reported in the march 7th issue of the new England journal of medicine by the partnership for research on Ebola virus in Liberia (PREVAIL). PREVAIL, established in 2014, is clinical research collaboration between the government of Liberia and the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH.
The study validates the fact that Liberia has emerged out of the onslaught of the 2014 Ebola outbreak to become a leader in Ebola research that is benefiting humanity,” Mosoka Fallah, Liberia’s principal investigator of the study said. He furthered “it signifies the impact of building modern research in a resource-constrained nation through collaboration with a develop country.”
PREVAIL 3, launched in 2015, is the largest study comparing the health of 1966 Ebola survivors and 2,350 of their uninfected close contacts to survivors, who help researchers more reliably identify which health issues are specific to survivors. The study is ongoing at three study sites: John F. Kennedy Medical Center, C.H. Rennie Hospital, and Duport Road Clinic.
The new report describe findings from the participants examined at three different times: at study entry, at a six month follow up, and at a twelve month follow up. For each visit during the first year, the PREVAIL team compared reported symptoms, physical findings, and laboratory values in the survivor and close contact groups.
Although the abnormal findings and symptom declined among both survivors and close contact in one year, and no new findings or symptoms were observed. According to the researchers, this improvement may be attributed to several factors, including resolution of post-traumatic stress disorder over time, interaction with a health care system, and resolution of tissue damage sustained during the acute Ebola illness.
“The PREVAIL Ebola survivors study is groundbreaking. It now helps us to better understand the excruciating pains, complications, and health issues facing our heroes after they survive this horrible disease,” Dr. Fallah adding “we will not rest until we find a lasting solution to the Ebola scourge.”
Dr. Fallah noted that during the remaining years of the study, PREVAIL researchers will continue to follow he health of survivors as well as to determine whether people who survive Ebola have develop immunity that will protect them from getting Ebola in the future.