The stem cell transplant did not infect her

StemBro cover
Image credit:
Bangkok Biz News and Komchadluek

Everyone took safety measures to keep each other safe during the pandemic. Even when apart, some showed that no borders or lockdown could keep them from looking after each other.

Recently, a 5-year-old boy saved his 7-year-old sister’s life by donating his bone marrow despite being infected with the COVID-19.

The girl had a blood disorder

StemBro siblings
Image credit:
Ramathibodi Foundation

7-year-old Jintanakan “Jean” Boonklomjit had a blood disorder called thalassemia and the doctors told her family the only way to cure it was with a stem cell transplant.

StemBro familyImage credit: Bangkok Post

Her younger brother, Sila “Jio” was the only one with the same tissue type – a 25% chance, according to the father. According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Usanarat Anurathaphan, the doctor who operated on Jean, family members are the ones with the highest chance of being compatible donors.

They made a shocking discovery

StemBro Jio quarantine
Jio in quarantine

Image credit: Ramathibodi Foundation

The doctors were worried as operating on children was a delicate and difficult task but went ahead. On the day they collected Jio’s stem cell, they found out that he got infected with COVID-19 and put him in quarantine.

Not only are they operating on very young patients but the risk of the transplant passing on the virus complicated the situation.

Despite this, Jio wanted to help his sister get her transplant and they agreed to try something they’ve never done before – a bone marrow transplant with a COVID-19 patient.

The operation was a success

The doctors succeeded in making a bone marrow transplant without passing on the virus to the sister. This became the world’s first successful transplant from an infected individual.

They started the procedure back in April but finished it on 23rd June, reported Coconuts Bangkok.

Risking it all

There are always obstacles that come in life that we learn to overcome. Especially right now, the hardships of the COVID-19 crisis challenges everyone to do what they can to stay together.

While we wait for a cure, rest assured that we will make it through. Do what it takes to protect those you love.

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