Ebola outbreak: 'Resilient and remarkable' British victim William Pooley administered experimental drug in UK

William Pooley, 29, is being cared for at the Royal Free Hospital in London

Senior Reporter

The British nurse suffering from the deadly Ebola virus has been described as a “resilient and remarkable young man” by doctors who have given him an experimental drug which they hope will help him beat the illness.

William Pooley, the first Briton confirmed to have contracted the virus, is being cared for at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London. His medical team said he had been treated with ZMapp, a drug which has previously been used to treat other Ebola sufferers with varying success.

Mr Pooley, 29, a volunteer nurse from Eyke in Suffolk, was exposed to Ebola while working with patients in Sierra Leone. He was flown back to Britain in a specially-adapted RAF jet on Sunday and is being treated in a special isolation unit.

Dr Michael Jacobs, consultant and clinical lead in infectious diseases at the Royal Free, said: “We have had the opportunity to give him the ZMapp treatment. It is an experimental medicine, we made that absolutely clear in our discussions with him. What has become apparent to us is that he is clearly a rather resilient and remarkable young man.”

ZMapp has been described as a potential “cure” for the virus after being credited with saving the lives of two US aid workers. But a Spanish priest and a Liberian doctor who were also reported to have taken the medication both later died.

 

The World Health Organisation has said there are only very limited supplies of the medicine, which has previously only been tested on animals. Staff at the Royal Free said Mr Pooley was given the first dose on Monday and will receive further medicine “in due course”.

Dr Jacobs added: “We are giving him the very best care possible. However, the next few days will be crucial. The disease has a variable course and we will know much more in a week’s time. Will is in a stable position and we are very pleased with where he is, we couldn’t hope for more.”

Video: Ebola patient given ZMapp

Efforts to control the spread of the virus are continuing in the African countries where it has killed more than 1,400 people. However, a top US health official visiting the affected regions has said the outbreak still had the “upper hand” over doctors.

Dr Tom Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is currently touring Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three hardest hit countries. “Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening. But the virus still has the upper hand,” he said.

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