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What doctors in Wuhan have gathered so far on Coronovirus. Immunity.

Posted on09 Feb 2020
As the contagion spread and flooded his ICU, the doctor observed that three weeks seemed to determine the difference between life and death. Patients with stronger immune systems would start to recover in a couple of weeks, but in the second week, some cases would take a turn for the worse.

In the third week, keeping some of these acute patients alive might require extraordinary intervention. For this group, the death rate seems to be 4 per cent to 5 per cent, Dr Peng said. After working his 12-hour daytime shifts, the doctor spends his evenings researching the disease and has summarised his observations in a thesis.

I've observed that the breakout period of the novel coronavirus tends to be three weeks, from the onset of symptoms to developing difficulties breathing. Basically going from mild to severe symptoms takes about a week. There are all sorts of mild symptoms: feebleness, shortness of breath, some people have fevers, some don't. Based on studies of our 138 cases, the most common symptoms in the first stage are fever (98.6 per cent of cases), feebleness (69.6 per cent), cough (59.4 per cent), muscle pains (34.8 per cent), difficulties breathing (31.2%), while less common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.

When the body's other organs start to fail, that's when it becomes severe,

while those with strong immune systems see their symptoms decrease in severity at this stage and gradually recover.

So the second week is what determines whether the illness becomes critical.

The third week determines whether critical illness leads to death. Some in critical condition who receive treatment can raise their level of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, and see an improvement in their immune systems, and have been brought back, so to speak.

But those whose lymphocyte numbers continue to decline, those whose immune systems are destroyed in the end, experience multiple organ failure and die.

Caixin: What is the highest risk a serious patient faces?

Peng: The biggest assault the virus launches is on a patient's immune system.

It causes a fall in the count of lymphocytes, the damage in the lungs and shortness of breath. Many serious patients died of choking. Others died of the failure of multiple organs following complications in their organs resulting from a collapse of the immune system.

Currently there are no special drugs for the coronavirus. The primary purpose of the ICU is to help patients sustain the functions of their body. Different patients have different symptoms. In case of shortness of breath, we provided oxygen; in case of a kidney failure, we gave dialysis; in case of a coma, we deployed Ecmo.

We provide support wherever a patient needs it to sustain his life. Once the count of lymphocytes goes up and the immune system improves, the virus will be cleared. However, if the count of lymphocytes continues to fall, it is dangerous because the virus continues to replicate. Once a patient's immune system is demolished, it is hard to save a patient.

Moving forward, try to stay healthy, build up a strong immune function, read more on tips to build up immunity

Source ST 06/08/2020