The first Briton to have contracted the deadly Ebola virus has been given the experimental drug ZMapp, the London hospital where he is being treated said yesterday, two days after he was brought back from West Africa.
British volunteer nurse William Pooley (29) had been working at an Ebola centre in Sierra Leone when he tested positive. He was flown home on Sunday in a specially adapted RAF cargo plane and taken to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
“After careful consideration William decided that he would like to take the experimental drug ZMapp and he took the first dose of the drug on Monday,” the hospital said in a statement.
Governments and global health authorities in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are struggling to halt an outbreak of the Ebola virus, a contagious haemorrhagic fever that has killed more than 1,400 people since it appeared in west Africa in March.
Free of virus
Last week two US aid workers who caught Ebola in Liberia were declared free of the virus after receiving ZMapp at a hospital in the US, raising hopes about its potential to fight the disease, for which there is currently no cure or vaccine.
However, Liberia said on Monday a Liberian doctor who treated Ebola victims had died of the disease despite being given ZMapp.
The London hospital said yesterday Mr Pooley was in “good spirits” and was sitting up and talking to the doctors and nurses who are treating him. “The next few days will be crucial. The disease has a variable course and we will know much more in a week’s time.” – (Reuters)