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Chennai doctors perform Asia’s first-known lung transplant on COVID-19 patient

The 48-year-old patient from Delhi had severely damaged lungs due to COVID-19-related fibrosis. The hospital claimed that this was Asia’s first known lung transplant on a COVID-19 positive patient.

August 29, 2020 / 03:35 PM IST

Doctors of a private hospital in Chennai successfully carried out a bilateral lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient. The 48-year-old patient from Delhi severely damaged lungs due to COVID-19-related fibrosis. The hospital claimed that this was Asia’s first known lung transplant on a COVID-19 positive patient.

He was found to be positive on June 8 and had to be kept on ventilator support since then. As his condition worsened, he was airlifted to MGM Healthcare on July 20 where he was put on ECMO support five days later, reported The Indian Express.

Citing a statement from the hospital, the report noted, “He developed COVID-19 infection on June 8. Only a small portion of the lungs was still functioning. As he became breathless and oxygen saturation came down, he was put on ventilatory support on June 20. His condition continued to worsen in spite of ventilator support, he was airlifted to MGM Healthcare in Chennai from Ghaziabad on July 20. His lung condition continued to be worsening in spite of maximum ventilatory supportive care, and he was put on ECMO support on July 25, 2020, for more than one month. Such patients are difficult to manage even in well-equipped ICUs.”

Talking to NDTV, Dr KR Balakrishnan, the Chairman and Director of heart and lung transplant programme at the MGM Healthcare, said, "The entire team put their lives at risk for this surgery," Dr Balakrishnan said, adding that the patient had recovered from COVID before he was operated on.

"Both his lungs are working well now and we have removed ECMO support. His clinical condition is stable," MGM Healthcare Co-Director Dr Suresh Rao said.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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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first published: Aug 29, 2020 03:35 pm