Ailing William Pooley, the first Briton to be infected during the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, acknowledged being «very lucky» after being released from a London hospital where he was treated with the experimental drug ZMapp.
Pooley, who contracted the virus while volunteering in Sierra Leone, was placed in a special isolation unit at the Free Royal Hospital from the British capital.
The 29-year-old patient no longer has a trace of the disease. «I was lucky in many ways,» he said.
«First of all, in the level of care he received, which is worlds apart from what people are receiving in West Africa right now.»
This Wednesday the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the epidemic has already claimed the lives of 1,900 people, a higher death toll than all previous epidemics of the disease, which was first detected in 1976.
Faced with the severity of the crisis, the United Nations pointed out that $600 million in medical supplies is missing and the WHO convened a new meeting of experts in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the best available treatments and see ways to accelerate the production of experimental drugs. .
Last month the only two Americans found to have Ebola recovered after being treated with ZMapp, which had never before been tested in humans.
Pooley was not sure when he was infected, but when he began to feel unwell, he underwent a blood test.
«That night I was woken up by one of the WHO doctors and immediately knew it was bad news.»
«I was worried that I was going to die, I was worried about my family and I was scared.»
On August 24, he was transferred to London.
«My symptoms never progressed to the worst stages of the disease; he witnessed horrible deaths, I had unpleasant symptoms but nothing compared to the worst,» she added.
The drug ZMapp, a 12-hour test infusion, has only been given to six other patients.
Whether the infusion aided Pooley’s recovery has not been proven, but virus levels in his bloodstream dropped significantly after treatment.
Dr. Michael Jacobs, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital, said the patient «will not infect anyone else. The virus is not present in his body and there is no risk to the rest of the community.»
Pooley also highlighted the efforts of others who are working in countries affected by the epidemic.
«It’s just heroic what they’re doing. They know what they’re up against,» they continue.
«Faced with a likely horrible death, they continue to work every day helping the sick. It’s incredible.»
He added that it was «natural» to go to West Africa as a volunteer, stressing that he did not regret his decision and that he felt «more committed than ever to his work as a patient.»
According to current estimates up to 20,000 people will be infected with the virus during this epidemic.
In total, 51% of the obligations have died. The figure varies from 41% in Sierra Leone to 66% in Guinea, the country where the epidemic began at the beginning of the year.