A Hong Kong baby, delivered prematurely after its mother contracted Sars and later died, can now breathe without the help of a ventilator, raising hopes for its survival. The child, who is being treated in the Prince of Wales Hospital's intensive care unit, was taken off a ventilator this week. The hospital's chairman of paediatrics, Fok Tai-fai, of the Chinese University, said his team was thrilled by the improvement and more optimistic. The baby's mother died after the baby was born 28 weeks into her pregnancy. The baby weighed only 1kg when born and was not much bigger than an adult's hand. The hospital has refused to reveal the sex of the infant. Three premature infants have been delivered by Caesarian section after their mothers contracted Sars. Two of the mothers, who both lived in Amoy Gardens where an outbreak has infected more than 300 people, have died. The other mother has survived. The early deliveries were carried out because the potent drugs used on Sars patients can cause abnormalities in unborn children. Professor Fok said there was no evidence that the babies were infected with Sars. He said the two babies at the Prince of Wales Hospital were getting better but their condition remained serious. 'Their organs have not developed fully. Their lungs, hearts and intestines have not grown into shape. They are still staying in incubators requiring very close monitoring,'' he said. Professor Fok said the average survival rate of premature babies born at 28 weeks was more than 70 per cent if their organs developed well. 'Our staff are very sympathetic to what happened to them and their families,'' he said. 'They are doing their very best to save them.''