Ninety percent of a sample of patients recovered from coronavirus at a leading hospital in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic broke, reported lung damage, and five percent of them are in quarantine again after testing positive for the virus, media reported. report Wednesday.
A team from Zhongnan Hospital at Wuhan University led by Peng Zhiyong, director of the hospital’s intensive care unit, has been making follow-up visits to “100 cured patients” since April.
The first phase of this one-year program ended in July. The average age of the patients in the study is 59 years.
According to the results of the first phase, 90% of patients’ lungs are still in a damaged condition, which means that their lung ventilation and gas exchange functions have not returned to the level of healthy people, reported the Global Times.
Peng’s team performed a six-minute walk test with the patients. They found that the recovered patients could only walk 400 meters in six minutes while their healthy peers could walk 500 meters in the same period.
Some recovered patients have to rely on oxygen machines even three months after discharge from the hospital, said Liang Tengxiao, a doctor at Dongzhimen Hospital of Beijing Chinese Medicine University, cited by the report.
Liang’s team also conducts follow-up visits with cured patients over the age of 65.
The results also showed that antibodies to the novel coronavirus in 10% of 100 patients disappeared.
Five percent of them received negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test results but positive immunoglobulin M (IgM) test results, and therefore must be quarantined again, according to the report.
IgM is usually the first antibody produced by the immune system when a virus attacks. A positive result on an IgM test usually means that a person has just been infected with the virus.
It is still unclear whether this means these people have been infected again.
The immune systems of the 100 patients did not fully recover as they showed a low level of B cells – a main force for killing viruses in the human body – but a high level of T cells which only recognize viral antigens. apart from infected cells.
“The results revealed that the patients’ immune systems were still recovering,” Peng said.
The patients also suffered from depression and a sense of stigma. Most of the recovered patients told the team that their families were unwilling to have dinner with them at the same table, according to the report.
Less than half of the recovered patients returned to work, he said.
The results are significant as the coronavirus first appeared in the city of Wuhan.
Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the provincial capital, has reported a total of 68,138 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far. The disease has killed 4,512 in the province, according to official data.
China reported 27 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 22 locally transmitted cases, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday.
All the locally transmitted cases have been reported in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the NHC said.
Five new imported cases were also reported on Tuesday. Of those cases, two were reported in Shanghai and one each in Beijing, Sichuan and Shaanxi, the commission said.
As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached 84,491, including 810 patients still in treatment, including 36 in serious condition.
A total of 79,047 people were released after their recovery and 4,634 died of the disease on the mainland, the NHC said.