Hong Kong's first bird flu patient in seven years may be invited to give blood after her recovery so her antibodies against the virus can be used to treat other patients. The 59-year-old woman from Tuen Mun was confirmed with H5N1 influenza last week after a trip to the mainland during which she visited a number of cities including Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou . Hong Kong health officials classified the case as imported. The woman was transferred from the intensive care unit to the isolation ward at Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday. She does not need an artificial ventilator, as doctors once expected. Doctors used two flu drugs - Tamiflu and Amandatine - on her. The drugs proved effective in reducing the scale of the infection. But whether she will make a full recovery from severe pneumonia will not be known for one or two weeks. The head of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, said while the bird flu strains in Indonesia and Vietnam were mostly resistant to Amandatine, the mainland strains were still responsive to the drug. 'The two drugs have a synergetic effect and they are especially effective on patients with no underlying diseases and younger than 65,' Yuen said. The University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Red Cross last year collected plasma from recovered swine flu patients to extract their antibodies. About 300 litres of plasma was collected from 680 people. The research team found that the antibodies were effective in treating some severe swine flu patients who did not respond to antiviral treatment. Yuen said a similar antibody therapy could be applied to bird flu patients if plasma could be collected. The health authorities did not find any genetic change of the H5N1 virus infecting the woman. In 1997, the deadly H5N1 virus first jumped the species barrier to infect 18 people in Hong Kong, killing six. The last confirmed case was reported in 2003 and involved a Sha Tin family.