Ebola discoverer Peter Piot about his Covid-19-illness: I underestimated this Virus

Peter Piot is a well-respected disease physician and Director of the “London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine”. He knows what can cause viruses in the body. In the seventies, Piot discovered together with other researchers, the Ebola Virus, a trigger of the dreaded hemorrhagic fever. His entire career he devoted to the fight against dangerous infectious diseases, including HIV. In the nineties, he headed for four years by the international world Aids conference, and later he was appointed Director of the Anti-HIV programme of the United Nations.

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But now, the power of decades of hunting viruses has even become the hunted, as he says: in the middle of March ill Piot, 71 years old, Covid-19. The Virus had almost killed him. Today he had to fight with late to follow, he said recently in an interview with the New York Times. He has shortness of breath, longer talks, but also climbing stairs cause him problems.

In retrospect, he had underestimated the causative agent “” he revealed to the newspaper. First of all, he thought, the pathogens like the Sars Virus, which had spread only to a very limited, or resemble the flu. “But it does not correspond to any of the two.” Piot is in the fight against the Coronavirus is an important key figure, and acts as an Advisor of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Where he might have with the Coronavirus infected, don’t know Piot until today. To be ill in the middle of March – the date he was one of the UK a few Hundred confirmed Corona infections. The virologist did not shake in the days before to the hands, to went but otherwise a normal everyday life. 16. March, he and his wife moved the work to a Home Office. Three days later, on the evening of 19. March, he suddenly developed a high fever and a “stabbing headache”.

“My head and my hair hurt, which was weird. I had at this time no cough, but my first thought was: I have it,” says Piot in a Protocol that was published by the journal Science. His suspicion is confirmed – a Test for the Coronavirus is positive.

“Complete Exhaustion. I’ll never forget that feeling”

Piot, who describes himself as a “born optimist”, will first attempt to see the Situation dramatically. He leads a healthy life, regularly goes for a run. His only risk factor is his age. However, the disease caught him with full force: “I felt exhausted all the time, while I spray usually downright energy. However, it was not only fatigue but total exhaustion,” says Piot. “I’ll never forget that feeling.”

On the advice of a friend, the doctor-the virologist in the hospital to investigate. The sobering diagnosis of the following: The virologist suffers from a serious inflammation of the lungs, in addition to the already bacterial pathogen had. The oxygen saturation in his blood are extremely low. Piot comes on the intensive care unit, where he receives oxygen via a mask. The room he shares with a homeless man, a cleaner from Colombia and a man from Bangladesh. It had been very quiet, recalls Piot. No one had the strength to Talk.

A week of virologist between life and death – is hovering a lot of time to Think. “You caught me”, he thought sometimes. “I have dedicated my life to the head against viruses, and now you get your revenge.”

The hospital he can finally, at 8. April, leave. Instead of taking a Taxi, he travels with the public transport home. He wants to experience his home city of London, driving past closed Pubs and shops. Surprised he is from the clean air.

Before the virus he had always great respect, reported by Piot, even though he was ill in his younger years, never seriously. This respect he had today. Nevertheless, the experience had changed his life, he felt vulnerable.

As Piot of the “New York Times” reported, he can not work at the Moment, yet again. The late consequences torment him still, and his Doctors have prescribed rest.

His optimism, he has maintained: “In 1972, when we took the blood samples of patients, was the protective equipment of a joke. I survived a helicopter accident. But this thing was different. I think, to look death in the eye and survive, is a good thing – it makes you reflect on what matters in life, which people are important.”

Sources: New York Times / Science

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