Experimental treatment saves Covid-19 patient in Ghent


An experimental treatment using plasma from a doctor who had recovered from the coronavirus has saved the life of a man at Ghent University Hospital

‘So much we can do’

An experimental treatment against Covid-19 has produced promising results at Ghent University Hospital. A patient in critical condition recovered much more quickly than other patients in the same condition after being given blood plasma from a donor who had recovered from the coronavirus.

The 40-year-old patient had an underlying immune disorder, and his body could not produce the antibodies needed to fight the virus, pulmonologist Bart Lambrecht told VRT. “It was impossible for him to recover on his own,” he said.

The man had had the virus for 25 days and had been on oxygen for two weeks. “We were afraid that we were going to lose him,” said Dr Lambrecht. “Then we found research from China that detailed a treatment using a plasma transfusion.”

‘Truly remarkable’

The hospital went in search of an appropriate blood donor – someone with the same blood type who had tested positive and recovered from the virus. The donor was a doctor from the same hospital.

“The effect was truly remarkable,” said Lambrecht. “Within two days, we were able to take him off the ventilators and move him out of in intensive care. He’s improving rapidly.”

The hospital will now collaborate with university hospitals in Leuven and Liège on research into plasma’s effectiveness in treating patients with Covid-19. Other countries have embarked on similar research.

“You hear so much negative news about the virus. But then if you can heal someone in such a serious condition … that is really a boost. There is so much we can do with just the right treatment.”

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA