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Photo: Pamela Tulizo/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' Inmazeb as the first treatment for the Ebola virus.

Why it matters: The approval comes after the World Health Organization announced in June that the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak had been eradicated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There were over 3,400 cases and over 2,200 deaths, according to data from WHO.

Details: Inmazeb, a mixture of three antibodies, was tested on 382 adults and children with confirmed Zaire ebolavirus infection in a clinical trial conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during an Ebola outbreak between 2018 and 2019, the FDA said.

What they're saying: “Today’s action demonstrates the FDA’s ongoing commitment to responding to public health threats — both domestically and abroad — on the basis of science and data,” FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the approval “a momentous global health achievement that would have never occurred without American leadership.”

  • "The United States was proud to provide direct support for this treatment, through an expanded access protocol and a clinical trial conducted in a highly dangerous and insecure region of the DRC," Azar said.
  • "The Trump Administration made ending the 2018 Ebola outbreak one of its top global health priorities for the last two years, and these efforts have now left the U.S. and our African partners better prepared for the fight against the new outbreak in western DRC and for future health threats.”

Flashback: Ervebo became the first FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of the Ebola virus in December 2019, supported by a study in Guinea conducted during a 2014-2016 outbreak.

Go deeper

Jan 16, 2021 - Health

Majority gives Dems new health care goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A narrow Democratic majority increases the odds that significant health care legislation could become law.

What they're saying ... The Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt listed health policies that Democrats may enact with a Senate majority:

  • Nullifying the pending GOP lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.
  • Making ACA premiums more affordable.
  • Offering incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
  • Allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.
  • Eliminating cost-sharing for coronavirus treatment.

Who to watch: Most Democratic policymaking on health care will come from the administration — specifically President-elect Biden's pick to head up the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra.

  • Biden has also announced a task force, led by Marcella Nunez-Smith, on racial disparities in health care — a longstanding problem that got more urgent during the pandemic. 
2 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

2 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.