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75-year-old Mumbai woman beats COVID-19 after doctors give her 24 hours to live

Doctors treated her with a popular antiviral drug remdesivir and other antibiotics before she finally recovered 13 days later.

April 27, 2021 / 02:47 PM IST
The doctors treated her with popular antiviral drug remdesivir and other antibiotics. Representational image

The doctors treated her with popular antiviral drug remdesivir and other antibiotics. Representational image


Beating doctors' expectation, a 74-year-old Mumbai woman has recovered from COVID-19 in just 13 days after the woman's family was informed that she may not have more than a day to live.

Shailaja Nakwe was diagnosed with a score of 25/25 -- the most severe count of COVID-19 infection, as per a Times of India report.

"Her recovery was a sweet victory against the virus we are all so desperately fighting. She was a diabetic who came to us with near 100% lung involvement, went on to need complete ventilator support and came out of it,” Dr Rajaram Sonagra said, as per the report.

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Nakwe was suffering from fever for 3-4 days before her sons rushed her to a hospital in Ghatkopar. Hours after she was admitted on April 8, Nakwe was put on a non-invasive ventilator.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Her oxygen dependence went up from 80 percent to 100 percent. All five lobes of the lung had over 75 percent involvement. She was breathing with great difficulty,” a doctor said, as per the report.

The doctors treated her with a popular antiviral drug remdesivir and other antibiotics before she finally recovered 13 days later.

"When we were told she may have just 24 hours to live, my mind had stopped working but my heart said she was a fighter. None of us gave up,” Nakwe's son Prashant told the publication adding, "My mother says she has touched death and come back."

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first published: Apr 27, 2021 02:47 pm

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