The Scottish nurse who contracted the Ebola virus in west Africa will be treated with a combination of blood samples from survivors of the virus and an experimental anti-viral drug.

Dr Michael Jacobs, who leads the team treating Pauline Cafferkey at the Royal Free hospital in London, said she was “as well as we could hope for” and was sitting up in an isolation tent and able to eat, read and talk.

Pauline Cafferkey Is the first Ebola patient admitted in the UK

Her family have been keeping a bedside vigil since she was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday morning after becoming the first person diagnosed with Ebola on UK soil.

Jacobs told a press conference that Cafferkey was able to have “natural, general conversation about things that are happening” and was talking to her parents via an internal communication system.

He said: “I’m sure this isn’t how she intended to spend New Year’s Eve. Imagine what she’s been through having had a journey back from where she’s been working very, very hard as part of a team in Sierra Leone.

“She’s had a long journey back, finally making it home then becoming unwell then being taken away from her home again. It’s been a very unsettled time for her, which she’s coping with remarkably.”

Jacobs declined to name the anti-viral drug that would be used to treat Cafferkey or say whether she would receive plasma from the British Ebola survivor William Pooley, who was cured of the virus at the Royal Free in September.

He also refused to be drawn on the Ebola screening row that prompted health chiefs to review quarantine rules and procedures at Heathrow.

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