‘Access to Ebola drug is uncertain’ admits Royal Free Hospital

British Ebola sufferer William Pooley (right) recovered after being given the experimental drug ZMap

British Ebola sufferer William Pooley (right) recovered after being given the experimental drug ZMapp at the Royal Free Hospital last month. Picture: Andrew Matthews - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The experimental drug used to treat British Ebola survivor William Pooley is no longer available at the Royal Free Hospital - the UK’s leading centre for the treatment of the disease.

Mr Pooley, 29, recovered in the Hampstead hospital’s high level isolation unit last month after receiving the experimental drug ZMapp.

The hospital used “clinical contacts” to obtain the rare drug but the dose secured was only enough to treat one person, the hospital has now confirmed.

Without ZMapp, Ebola treatment at the Royal Free Hospital will consist only of “supportive care”, such as regular testing and maintaining levels of hydration.

Medics says it is impossible to know whether the drug contributed to Mr Pooley’s recovery or if other factors were responsible.

The drug, which has not been tested in humans, is available only in very limited quantities and manufacturers admit it will take months to make more.

On Saturday, staff at the Royal Free took part in nationwide simulation practices to test the responsiveness of systems and procedures designed to tackle any outbreak of Ebola.

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Actors were used to simulate symptoms of the deadly virus while ministers, government departments and dozens of expert medical professionals from ambulance services, hospitals and Public Health England played out various scenarios.

Many of the eight-hour simulations ended with patients being transferred to the Royal Free.

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