Man Fighting Second Bout of COVID Bitten by Cobra, Paralyzed and Blinded

A man battling COVID-19 was bitten by a cobra in India, leaving him blind, paralyzed and "fighting for his life."

British charity worker Ian Jones was working in a village in the northwest of the country when he was bitten by a highly venomous king cobra, according to a GoFundMe page set up by colleagues and family to raise money for his medical costs and transfer home to the United Kingdom.

Jones, from the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, was in India running social enterprise Sabirian, which assists local craftspeople living in poverty.

The charity worker has been in intensive care since he suffered the bite, compounding his COVID-19-related health problems.

"Ian was, at the time, already battling a second bout of COVID-19, having survived an earlier attack in March, when the snake bite took matters to a whole new level of severity," a statement on the GoFundMe page read.

"Because of travel restrictions, [he] has been unable to travel home. Now facing mounting medical bills and being unable to leave the country, we are setting up this GoFundMe page in the hope of urgently raising some money to help meet the tens of thousands of pounds needed for his care, before he can return home to his family on the Isle of Wight."

This is not the first time that Jones has experienced a serious illness during his time as a charity worker, having already beaten bouts of malaria and dengue fever before contracting COVID-19.

Seb Jones, the charity worker's son, described his father as a "fighter" who stayed in India even after going through these illnesses, remaining "resolute" in his determination to stay in the country and continue his social enterprise work.

"As a family we understood his desire to continue to support the many people who relied on him. We were naturally concerned about him though and then when we heard he had also suffered what is usually a fatal snake bite on top of all that he had been through, we honestly could not believe it," the son said.

"It really has been touch and go, he is stable at the moment although he has paralysis in his legs and blindness, both of which we hope is temporary, but it is clear he is going to need to remain in hospital out there for some time to come."

The family said they were "extremely grateful" to Jones' colleagues who have supported him at this difficult time.

King cobras, native to India, southern China and other parts of Southeast Asia, are one of the most venomous snakes on Earth. Growing up to 18 feet in length, they are the longest venomous snake in the world.

king cobra
Stock image showing a king cobra. Charity worker Ian Jones was bitten by one of these highly venomous snakes in India while battling COVID-19. iStock