A British pilot who is in a critical condition due to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has tested negative for the virus five times in a row, while his health had slightly improved as of Saturday, according to Vietnamese doctors.
The 43-year-old patient no long had a fever, while doctors had stopped performing chest drains — a method of removing air and fluid substances from the pleural space — on him, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control confirmed on Saturday.
He still needed support from a ventilator, although his pulse and blood pressure had stabilized.
A lung transplant is necessary as 90 percent of the Briton’s lungs had collapsed, the steering committee stated.
The Hanoi-based Viet Duc University Hospital and Vietnam National Coordinating Centre for Human Organ Transplantation (VNHOT) have been in charge of the search for a compatible donor and making necessary preparations for the operation.
The Ministry of Health is estimating costs for the transplant and calling for sponsors.
Meanwhile, doctors at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, where the patient is being treated, are focusing on dealing with infections at several of his organs.
According to the VNHOT, nearly 50 people aged from 21 to 71 have volunteered to donate parts of their lungs for the transplant.
However, doctors and experts still prioritize finding compatible lungs from a brain-dead registered donor.
The Briton, who works as a pilot for Vietnam Airlines, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March and has been receiving treatment at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City.
He is currently the most severe COVID-19 case in Vietnam.
His treatment has been a roller-coaster ride, with tests for the virus alternating between positive and negative.
As the patient's body has become resistant to all domestically available medicine for blood-clotting disorders, the health ministry has had to import medicine from abroad for his treatment.
He has also been on life support in the form of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for more than 30 days.
Vietnamese authorities have been able to establish contact with one of his relatives in the UK, who has been coordinating with doctors and experts in Vietnam in making decisions regarding his treatment.
The number of COVID-19 patients in Vietnam is at 318 as of Sunday morning, with 260 having recovered. No death from the disease has been reported.
No infection in the community has been confirmed in the country for the past 31 days.