Maharashtra : Man gets COVID19 positive son's blood stem cells; Remains infection free

Pune : A 55-year-old man, resident of Pune in severe stage of blood cancer undergoing treatment at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital became the first man in the country to undergo a treatment of bone marrow transplant despite knowing the donor’s COVID19 positive status. One such similar case of bone marrow transplant in April was reported in Thailand.

According to the doctors, COVID19 is not transmitted through blood even if the donor is highly infected with the COVID19. Hematologists say this does not mean that infected persons should donate blood.

Scientists across the world are studying the coronavirus and constantly advising people who are infected with COVID19 that they should not donate blood. But people who have recovered from COVID19 can donate blood after 28 days of discharge or isolation.

Deadly coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets generated by an infected person who coughs, sneezes, or speaks. If a healthy person by mistake touches a contaminated surface and then the eyes, nose, or mouth can also fall prey to it.

As per the information given by the experts, India has a huge blood shortage, the current donors need to be reviewed in the light of this case and other global studies. It is also believed that the threat of blood transfusion transmission route, will increase as many asymptomatic COVID19 carriers might also donate blood.

The patient who got blood stem cells (bone marrow transplant) was admitted in January this year and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, he was admitted for an emergency bone marrow transplant. In the patient’s case, his son was found to be a fit donor. But he started complaining of mild fever a day before the transplant. He tested positive for COVID19 through the RT-PCR test. The doctors then tested his sister, who was another possible donor. But she too was detected with asymptomatic COVID infection. There was no chance of finding another donor. The patient’s marrow had been destroyed drastically with a high dose of chemotherapy. The doctors said, “we had no choice but to use the donors’ cells despite knowing his COVID19 infective status.”

Post-transplant, the recipient was monitored for symptoms and tested for COVID19 infection. But he did not develop COVID19 infection and has recovered well. It has been six months now, the patient is doing well.

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