Virologist who discovered Ebola and fought against AIDS shares experience of combating Coronavirus

The expert recounted the emotional experience of having coronavirus after combating several viral infections in his career

World-renowned virologist who has been working on infectious disease throughout his career shared the emotional experience of contracting the coronavirus to a magazine earlier this month.

The virus expert and the head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has been known for his contribution while discovering the Ebola virus and has spent the majority of his career fighting infectious disease. The expert has been recounting his experience while being infected by the coronavirus.

Peter Piot, has spent his career making some important discoveries and is renowned for discovering the Ebola virus in 1976. He has also headed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2008. Presently he is an adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The expert contracted the disease while he was in the United Kingdom. Piot recounted his experience after being infected by the novel coronavirus in March this year to a magazine. Piot says that being infected by the coronavirus was a life-changing experience.

An emotional experience

Peter Piot
Peter Piot, virus expe Wikimedia Commons

Peter Karel Piot, is a Belgian microbiologist who is known for his efforts on studying Ebola which led to the containment of the first-ever Ebola epidemic that happened the same year. During the interview with Knack, the scientist recounted his emotional journey while combating the coronavirus infection. He told that he was having "high fever and a stabbing headache," that hurt his skull and hair. He said that he was feeling unwell but with no cough. He continued his work but from home after falling sick in the following days.

Since it was not possible to get the testing done in the National Health Services, Piot resorted to going to a private hospital to get himself tested for the coronavirus. The test results were positive which led him to go into self-isolation in the spare room in his home.

"But the fever didn't go away. I had never been seriously ill and have not had a day of sick leave in the past ten years. I live quite a healthy life and run regularly. The only risk factor for corona is my age – I am 71," said Peter Piot.

Acquaintance advised the virus expert to get further tests done

An acquaintance advised the virus expert to get further tests done due to the risk factors. This led to the revelation that he was having severe lung infection that was causing him to struggle to breathe and be exhausted.

The expert said during the interview that he still faces the struggles as an aftermath of the coronavirus. He also feared the fact that he would succumb to the disease after being placed in a ventilator. The exhaustion of the Covid-19 infection led the usually proactive virologist to succumb into being a "100 per cent patient."

For Piot, experiencing the coronavirus was different from understanding and working on various viral infections like Ebola and AIDS. He has also worked on SARS and MERS as well. The first lung infection led the virologist to be taken to the hospital where he was kept in isolation and taken care of by the physicians completely. Piot said that for a week he "wavered between the heaven and earth, " on what he believes would have been the end.

Now undergoing his outpatient treatment to cure the second lung infection he said that his first plan is to go back to the advisor role appointed to him by EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. The European Union has been strategically working with various bodies to find a vaccination to the novel coronavirus. Piot believes that the only exit strategy from the coronavirus is finding a vaccine for the disease.

Related topics : Coronavirus