New coronavirus was detected in a flu-like patient in Wuhan in early January

Today, Nature’s sub-journal, Nature Microbiology, published a brief newsletter from the Wuhan CDC. “The researchers reanalyzed 640 pharynx swab samples collected from 6 October 2019 to 21 January 2020 in wuhan influenza-like patients, and detected the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in nine of them,” the paper said. The findings suggest that sars-CoV-2 community transmission has occurred in Wuhan since early January. “

New coronavirus was detected in a flu-like patient in Wuhan in early January

The article mentions that although the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and SARS virus are close relatives, but the symptoms caused by the two are significantly different – china CDC analysis shows that in the confirmed new coronavirus infection, up to 80.9% of mild or moderate disease, no breathing difficulties and hypoxia. Considering that molecular diagnostic techniques for new coronaviruses are not widely used by January 23, 2020, we don’t really know much about the early outbreaks.

To better understand the epidemiological information about the new coronary outbreak, Liu Manqing’s team from the Wuhan CDC traced samples of pharynx swabs isolated in patients with flu symptoms in the weeks before the outbreak. The samples were 640 for a period of time between 6 October 2019 and 21 January 2020.

Backtracking data show that the number of patients showing flu symptoms has increased significantly since early December 2019, and peaked around the new year, compared with the same period in 2017 and 2018. Similarly, the proportion of patients with flu symptoms jumped to 9.44 per cent from 1.97 per cent earlier. The researchers note that these data suggest a significant increase in the number of people showing flu symptoms this winter. To do this, it is necessary to distinguish between influenza patients and new coronavirus infections.

New coronavirus was detected in a flu-like patient in Wuhan in early January

From December 2019, the number and proportion of patients with flu symptoms have increased significantly (Photo: Resources)

After qPCR analysis of these pharynx samples, the researchers detected the new coronavirus in nine samples. The patients were aged between 35 and 71 and were seen in January, with the earliest symptoms occurring on 4 January. The article also notes that in very limited samples, more new coronavirus infections can be detected in these flu-like cases over time. Especially in the last week of sample collection, the positive rate of new coronavirus has even exceeded the influenza virus positive rate in people over the age of 30.

Another notable point is that of the nine confirmed positive patients, seven were registered in Wuhan, and they came from six different districts and surrounding areas. The remaining 2 patients were registered outside Wuhan. These data also provide additional evidence for local community communication. The researchers reasoned that the data showed that in early January, there had been community transmission of the new coronavirus in Wuhan.

New coronavirus was detected in a flu-like patient in Wuhan in early January

7 patients living in and around Wuhan (red is the patient’s residence, black is the South China Seafood Market, the Red Cross provides data for the two hospitals) (Photo: Resources)

Today, Wuhan lifted 76 days of traffic control, which also marks the official “reboot” of Wuhan. Is the so-called past do not forget, the teacher of the future. At the end of the paper, the researchers noted that flu symptoms and mild and moderate symptoms caused by the new coronavirus were somewhat coincident and difficult to distinguish. Therefore, in any country or region of the world, wherethere is a risk of community transmission, we need to strengthen the surveillance of influenza-like patients. This is a painful lesson for the virus and a valuable lesson in preventing another outbreak in the future.