The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is still battling the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that returned to the central African nation in May. 

It has now approved the use of five investigational therapeutics to treat the virus, marking the first time such treatments have been available in the midst of an Ebola outbreak in the country, the World Health Organisation said.

According to WHO, four of the five approved drugs are currently in the country, which are Zmapp, GS-5734, REGN monoclonal antibody combination, and mAb114, under the framework of compassionate use and expanded access.

Clinicians working in the treatment centres will make decisions on which drug to use as deemed helpful for their patients, and appropriate for the setting.

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The treatments can be used as long as informed consent is obtained from patients and protocols are followed, with close monitoring and reporting of any adverse events.

Earlier in May, WHO convened a group of independent scientific experts to evaluate investigational therapeutics for EVD during the current outbreak in the DRC.

They found that there are many pathogens for which no proven effective intervention exists.

For some pathogens there may be interventions that have shown promising safety and efficacy in the laboratory and in relevant animal models, but that have not yet been evaluated for safety and efficacy in humans.

Under normal circumstances, such interventions undergo testing in clinical trials that are capable of generating reliable evidence about safety and efficacy.

WHO, however, said in the context of an outbreak characterized by high mortality, it can be ethically appropriate to offer individual patients investigational interventions on an emergency basis outside clinical trials.

According to WHO statistics, as of Wednesday, a total of 58 EVD cases have been reported, including 27 deaths, 37 lab-confirmed, 14 probable and seven suspected cases.

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Information about the extent of the outbreak remains limited and investigations are ongoing.

Currently, WHO considers the public health risk to be very high at the national level, and also sets the risk at the regional level at high level.

Globally, the risk is currently considered low, but WHO said as further information becomes available, the risk assessment will be reviewed.