NATIONAL

Major gaps in our knowledge of coronovirus origin: report

A health worker speaking during a coronavirus information camp at an India-Nepal border crossing on Monday.AFPafp

A health worker speaking during a coronavirus information camp at an India-Nepal border crossing on Monday.AFPafp  

‘2019-nCoV infection causes severe respiratory illness’

“The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies,” noted a study titled — “Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China”, published in The Lancet this past week.

The study was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.

The recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), notes the study.

The study found that by January 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men, less than half had underlying diseases including diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular ailments.

Also 27 (66%) of the 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found.

Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever, cough and fatigue with less common ones being sputum production, headache and diarrhoea.

All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT.

For the study, researchers collected data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction).

“Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data,” said the study.

Recommended for you