‘Finally, a virus got me.’ Scientist who fought Ebola and HIV reflects on facing death from COVID-19

Virologist Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, fell ill with COVID-19 in mid-March. He spent a week in a hospital and has been recovering at his home in London since. Climbing a flight of stairs still leaves him breathless.

This interview with Peter Pilot – a scientist who was one of the discoverers of the Ebola Virus in 1976 – shows how serious COVID-19 was for him. He believes too many people underestimate the damage that COVID-19 can do even if you survive.

Many people think COVID-19 kills 1% of patients, and the rest get away with some flulike symptoms. But the story gets more complicated. Many people will be left with chronic kidney and heart problems. Even their neural system is disrupted. There will be hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, possibly more, who will need treatments such as renal dialysis for the rest of their lives.

Peter Pilot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine