Study Evaluating Coronavirus Symptoms Demonstrates Pneumonia and Severe Respiratory Complications

Chinese researchers funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and other Chinese governmental organizations recently investigated the clinical, radiological, and epidemiological characteristics of coronavirus (2019-nCov) infection. The study was particularly focused on characterizing coronavirus symptoms, presumably with the goal of therapeutic intervention.

The study included 41 patients with laboratory-confirmed cases of infection treated at a Wuhan-based hospital. 27 had been associated with the Huanan seafood market.

The most common symptoms at the onset of the disease were found to be fever (40 out of 41 patients), muscle weakness or fatigue (18 out of 41), and coughing (31 out of 41). The clinical course less commonly included headache (3/38), sputum production (11/39), diarrhea (1/38), and coughing up blood (2/39).

22 out of 40 patients had labored breathing and 26 out of 41 had a reduced white blood cell count. All 41 patients had pneumonia with CT scans of the chest demonstrating abnormal findings. Life-threatening complications including acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute injury to the heart occurred in 12 and 5 patients, respectively. 6 out of 41 patients did not survive the disease course. The researchers concluded that infection with the coronavirus can cause severe respiratory illness and is associated with admission to the ICU and high mortality.

Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, et al. (2020) Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The Lancet, 395, 497-506. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673620301835