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May 22, 2020 / 11:54

Vietnam’s health ministry plans to repatriate Covid-19 British patient

The Covid-19 British patient had undergone treatment for 63 days at a Ho Chi Minh City-based hospital.

The most critical Covid-19 patient in Vietnam, a British pilot, has been determined to be coronavirus-free, and the health ministry is considering a plan of flying him back to the UK for further care, local media reported.

Assoc. Prof. Luong Ngoc Khue, director of the Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on May 21 that the patient has tested negative six times for the novel strain of the coronavirus.


Doctors at Ho Chi Minh City Cho Ray Hospital put Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) on Patient 91. Photo: Ministry of Health

He assessed that the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases "had fulfilled the mission of treating the patient." A sample of the virus taken from the patient and cultivated in the HCM City Pasteur Institute shows that he has developed immunity and won’t get re-infected by the virus.

The Briton had undergone treatment for 63 days at the hospital. “It has been a period of non-stop working for the doctors there,” Khue added.

Currently, the pilot's active lung area has increased to 30% instead of just 10% nearly a week ago. The patient will be transferred to Cho Ray Hospital for intensive care.
Vietnam’s leading medical experts have held frequent consultations to determine the optimal time to carry out a lung transplant operation as the patient’s lung functions have deteriorated and he remains on life support.

Both of his lungs are condensed and test results for Covid-19 have come out negative and positive interleaved multiple times, his liver enzymes level is high. The patient’s body has been resistant to all types of domestic coagulant drugs and the health ministry has to purchase drugs overseas for his treatment.

So far, more than 59 people, the oldest being 76 years old, and the youngest 21, have registered to donate their lungs for the patient, Khue said. However, the pilot requires the whole two sides of the lung, thus doctors are looking for a brain-dead donor.

The 43-year-old British pilot, designated as the country’s "Patient 91", works for national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines. He was the first case in the cluster of infections in HCM City associated with Buddha Bar & Grill. A few days after he was diagnosed, 18 others were also found infected.