A UK military medic who has been discharged from hospital after being declared free of Ebola said it was thanks to medics that she is alive.
Cpl Anna Cross was the first person in the world to be given the experimental Ebola drug MIL 77, her doctors said.
Cpl Cross, aged 25, from Cambridge, caught the virus while working as a volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone.
During her illness she lost 22lb (10kg) and spent 14 days being treated at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
They described the drug she was given as a close relative of the medicine ZMapp – which British nurse William Pooley received when he was treated for Ebola
Experts at the Royal Free said MIL 77 was made in China and that a limited supply was available, should anyone need it.
Prof Jonathan Ball, a virus expert at the University of Nottingham, said: “This is fantastic news that another individual admitted to the Royal Free has recovered from Ebola.
“She was given an experimental drug, but it is impossible to say whether or not this directly contributed to her clearing the virus.
“In order to know whether a drug does work we need experimental trials and thankfully trials of various drugs are underway in West Africa, where Ebola virus is still doggedly clinging on.”
Ebola has claimed more than 10,000 lives across the worst-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in the past 12 months.
A British military healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola is being flown to the UK for treatment.
Two of her colleagues are also being flown back as a precaution in case the infection has been passed on through close contact. They have not been diagnosed with Ebola.
A further two colleagues are being assessed in Sierra Leone, and may be flown back in the future
The three being flown to the UK today will be taken to the special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Dr Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading, said flying the patient back to the UK offered the best chance of recovery.
“The Royal Free Hospital has a 100% record in treating Ebola cases so far, let’s hope that doesn’t change.
“While the new batch of ZMapp is not yet available, she could be treated with favipiravir, which has shown some early promising results in West African Ebola clinics.
“She may also be given antibody-rich serum from Ebola survivors to knock down the amount of virus in her blood while her immune system is learning to fight Ebola.”
Note: You have to ask the question, are favipirarir, ZMapp and Blood serum only available in the UK? Why are these protocols NOT available on site even if restricted?
What procedures are available in the Royal Free Hospital that are NOT available on-site in Sierra Leonne? No invasive surgical procedures are being performed unless you count an IV drip as surgical, it is supportive/recuperative care.
In a nutshell tell me what to do and give me the drugs to do it, so location does not matter! Right?
Dr Michael Jacobs…He said Ms Cafferkey was treated with blood plasma from an Ebola survivor and an experimental treatment drug closely related drug to ZMapp, which UK nurse Will Pooley was treated with after he contracted Ebola.
Note: You would think a success of a ZMapp clone would be cause for a public announcement. Will they be keeping Blood Plasma stock from Ms Cafferkey for future patients?
The Royal Free Hospital has the UK’s only high level isolation unit (HLIU), used for the treatment of infectious diseases.
The HLIU is run by a dedicated team of doctors, nurses and laboratory staff from the Royal Free London infectious diseases service. It was set up at the Royal Free Hospital in 2006 and has since looked after several cases of viral haemorrhagic fever.
Dr Martin Deahl, 58, from Newport, Shropshire…
“I trained with Pauline in York before we flew out to Sierra Leone.
“We flew out on November 23 for five weeks along with 29 NHS volunteers.
“I worked in Port Loko with most of the volunteers and Pauline went to Kerry Town with three or four others
“We all met up again at Free Town on Saturday night for a reunion. We all got very close to each other and there would have been lots of contact with Pauline.
“On Sunday we flew into Casablanca and had a six hour stop-over in the airport lounge. Again there was lots of us hugging and chatting with each other…”
– Pauline Cafferkey and Dr Martin Deahl flew with NHS volunteers
– 29 NHS volunteers
– 5 weeks to Sierra Leone
– Only Pauline Cafferkey tested positive and is being treated for Ebola
– Unknown (secret) investigative drug being trialled
– Blood Plasma trialled on Ms Cafferkey
– No further details of other supportive recovery care.
Prof Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology, University of Nottingham, said: “This is really good news – the team at the Royal Free have done a fantastic job.
“We will never know if investigational drugs and convalescent plasmas contributed to her improvement, but it does once again highlight the huge benefits that modern well-resourced critical care interventions can bring to those suffering from severe Ebolavirus infection.”
Investigational drugs? Trial drugs?
Dr Jacobs said: ‘At the moment, we don’t know what the best treatment strategies are. That’s why we’re calling them experimental treatments.
What have these people being doing in West Africa for the past 3 months? They still do NOT know what supportive therapies increase survival rates? What protocols was Ms Cafferkey using with West African ebola patients?
It is quite an admission, that despite the involvement of MSF, UN, USAID, US Army, UK Army, etc they have not determined a clear recovery protocol and still wait for a pre-infection solution – vaccine.
This blogger recommends they try the alternative solutions mentioned on this blog, they will at least cause no further harm unlike the “experimental” vaccines and GMO drugs.
Ms Cafferkey had been part of a team of medical volunteers deployed to Sierra Leone by the UK government in November.
The 39-year-old is being treated with an experimental anti-viral drug at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
Ms Cafferkey’s is the second UK case of Ebola. Nurse William Pooley recovered from the disease in September after also being treated at the Royal Free Hospital.