Story By: Conor Sheils, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A top Belgian virologist who helped discover the Ebola virus has spoken of his hell with COVID-19 after contracting the virus in the UK.
Peter Piot – famous for his part in discovering the deadly Ebola virus – has spoken out about his brush with COVID-19 and the terrifying symptoms he felt while ill.
Piot believes he contracted the virus in the UK where he now holds down a position at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Describing the illness, he says that he was first struck down with a “high fever and a stabbing headache” on March 19.
He told local media: “It was bizarre as both my skull and my hair were in pain.
“I didn’t have a cough at the time but my gut feeling was ‘I have it’.
“I kept working – I’m a workaholic – but from home.”
Piot was unable to undergo a test on the NHS at the time but managed to receive one from a private hospital where he tested positive.
He isolated himself but his condition did not improve.
He added: “. . . 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.”
He underwent further testing and later found he was suffering from a serious lung infection.
Speaking about his time in hospital he said: “I was scared, but luckily I first got an oxygen mask and that turned out to work. I ended up in an isolation room at the entrance to intensive care. You feel tired, so you rest. You completely surrender to nursing. You live in a routine from syringe to infusion and hope you make it. I am usually quite proactive in my behaviour, but here I was 100% patient.
“You sometimes lose scientific level-headedness and surrender to emotional reflections. They got me, I thought . . . . I have devoted my life to fighting viruses and finally they get their revenge. For a week I wavered between heaven and earth, on the edge of what could have been the end.”
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