Elderly COVID-19 patient received blood transfusion from recovered coronavirus sufferers
A 100-year-old Chinese man has recovered from coronavirus, despite having underlying health conditions – including heart failure, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s – after he received a blood transfusion from recovered COVID-19 patients.
The centenarian is known only by his surname Wang, according to Chinese media.
Mr. Wang was among more than 80 patients who were discharged from Hubei Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital in Wuhan last Saturday after recovering from the deadly virus.
The elderly patient received two therapy sessions using blood donated by people who have already recovered from the coronavirus, said Cai Chen, a doctor from the hospital.
“Considering the patient was very old and he had a relatively weak immune system, we decided to use recovered coronavirus patients’ blood plasma as the main treatment,” Dr. Chen told the press.
Scientists theorize that the treatment works by putting disease-battling proteins from recovered patients into people still fighting the illness.
The sick patients’ bodies can then use these proteins – called antibodies – as if they were there own, instead of having to make them from scratch.
Chinese hospitals have said they are using the therapy already but only on their patients – there is no mass-produced drug or supply of it.
The former patient, who had just celebrated his 100th birthday, was diagnosed with the coronavirus on February 24.
He was unconscious when he was admitted to the hospital, Zeng Li, director of the hospital’s infection department, told the press.
“The fact that we used anti-virus blood serum [from recovered patients] to cure the centenarian is going to boost the confidence of other patients,” Zeng Li told the state broadcaster CCTV.
Mr. Wang’s condition gradually improved after receiving two-week treatment from a designated team of medical experts.
Chinese health experts have warned the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are at high risk of catching the coronavirus.
As of Saturday, the Hubei hospital alone had admitted 552 patients over the age of 60, including 149 who have recovered, according to reports.
A drug-maker in Japan has been developing a drug using parts of the immune system taken from people who have caught the virus and recovered from it.
It has been used to tackle Ebola in the past but it could take more than one recovered patient to treat a single sick person – so it will not be used for everyone.
News of the development comes as a health official working in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, said that if given the chance again they would have pushed to send more patients into intensive care sooner in their illness.
And scientists have said they are getting close to starting human trials of vaccines, but a UK Government official said they would not be ready during this outbreak.
The novel coronavirus has infected over 114,000 people worldwide, including at least 4,062 deaths.
China has recently seen a sharp drop in its new cases as Wuhan closes its last makeshift hospital built during the outbreak today.
But other countries could be heading straight for a coronavirus outbreak like the one which has crippled Italy, experts have warned.
Earlier this week, Italy put all of its 60 million people into lockdown and banned movement between cities in a drastic bid to stop COVID-19.
The UK is following the same trajectory and could end up in a similar situation a few weeks down the line, one scientist warned.
There are currently 382 confirmed cases in the UK and six people have died.
More infections are expected to be declared later today and throughout the week.
Since February 21, the number of cases in Italy has rocketed from just three to over 10,000, resulting in hundreds of deaths.