Sick Belgian toddler Pia compatible with life-saving drug

Sick Belgian toddler Pia compatible with life-saving drug
Sick Belgian toddler Pia has received a shot of Zolgensma, the most expensive medicine in the world and the only treatment capable of curing her of spinal muscular atrophy. Credit: TeamPia/Facebook

Sick Belgian toddler Pia, whose family successfully crowdfunded millions of euros to afford the world’s most expensive medicine, does not produce antibodies against the life-saving drug Zolgensma meaning it can be administered safely.

According to Belgian law, Pia, who turned ten months old last week, has to get the shot before she turns two. Now that tests have shown that the girl is not resistant and does not make antibodies against Zolgensma, the next major step towards healing has been taken.

"She will never heal completely," said Ellen De Meyer, the baby's mother, in Het Laatste Nieuws. "The muscles that have been affected already will not recover. However, the medicine will stop the degradation of the remaining muscles permanently. For a small percentage of children, the medicine does not yield results, for others the results are spectacular. We have to hope for the best scenario and give our Pia all the chances she deserves," she added.

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"If the lab results would have been negative, the road to recovery would be much longer," said De Meyer. "It would not be ruled out that Pia would receive the medicine, but it would be more difficult and take longer," she added.

When exactly Pia will get the shot is not clear yet, but she will be able to get it in Belgium, meaning the family will not have to travel to the United States. "She will get the drug in the university hospital of Antwerp of Ghent. With a little luck, she will get the medicine this year. The procedure has been started," De Meyer added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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