BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) — It wasn’t until 1933 that scientists determined that the 1918 pandemic was the virus, and within two weeks of the discovery of the new coronary pneumonia outbreak, researchers determined it was caused by a new coronavirus and sequenced the virus, the Atlantic Monthly said today.
In addition, neither medical technology nor the professionalism of medical staff is now a century ago during the influenza pandemic can be expected to back. The following is the full text of the article:
We have just marked the centenary of the 1918 pandemic, which, though only a few months, claimed 50 million to 100 million lives, including 675,000 in the United States.
The pandemic has become a benchmark for the epidemic, and many people are eager to compare it to the current new coronary pneumonia. The most striking thing about comparing the two is not their similarity, but the progress of medicine over the century. In any case, the results of the outbreak of new coronary pneumonia will not be worse than the 1918 pandemic.
When the flu raged in many regions, including California and Kolkata, India, no one knew what had claimed so many lives. There were many claims at the time, some of which were caused by the dislocation of the planets, others as contaminated Russian oats, or volcanic eruptions.
Microbiologists have targeted a bacterium they found decades ago in the lungs of cold patients, known as bacillus flu, but they did not find bacteria in the lungs of patients. It wasn’t until 1933 that two British scientists proved that the pathogen that caused the pandemic was “someone else” – something we now call a “virus”. In 1940, the newly invented electron microscope took the first picture of the flu virus, and in the history of human development, we not only knew its name, but also for the first time saw the true face of the pandemic.
Humans know the new coronary pneumonia virus much faster than the pandemic. When the outbreak began, scientists suspected it was caused by a virus. Within two weeks, scientists identified the culprit as a coronavirus and sequenced it to find that its most likely animal host was a bat.
Chinese research teams shared this information with the global scientific community, laying the groundwork for laboratories around the world to understand the virus’s characteristics and develop vaccines and drugs. Humans may not have fully defeated this virus, but has a considerable understanding of it, the so-called “know-yourself, a hundred wars are not lost”, I believe that one day humans can overcome the new coronapneumonia virus.
New coronary pneumonia virus
Antibiotics were not available when the flu broke out in 1918. Although antibiotics are not effective against the virus, they can effectively treat concurrent bacterial infection symptoms. Concurrent bacterial infections can lead to severe pneumonia, which may be a direct cause of death in most patients during the 1918 pandemic.
Medical care was also limited at the time. The doctor recommends quinin (no use), dry champagne (which is more interesting, but not anyuse) and fruit-guided tablets (a cancer-causing laxative). In 1916, british medics even tried blood-letting therapy while treating dying soldiers. Obviously, none of these treatments are useful, but doctors offer a far-fetched explanation: there is no early medical treatment.
Fortunately, antibiotics are no longer in short supply. Although antibiotic abuse is a major problem, it remains a powerful weapon in the treatment of concurrent bacterial infections. Early patient records describe concurrent bacterial infections in patients with new coronary pneumonia, and we have every reason to believe that antibiotics have saved many lives.
We also have a class of drugs: antivirals, which directly target disease-causing viruses. There are currently at least four antiviral drugs, both oral and intravenous. Although the results were not as good as we expected, they were used to treat quite a few patients with severe new coronary pneumonia. It’s hard to tell whether these antiviral drugs or antibiotics are the direct cause of a patient’s recovery, but at least we have some options – something that would have been unthinkable 100 years ago.
Over the past century, the emergence of modern hospitals, ICUs (intensive care wards) and the training of medical professionals have greatly improved human capacity to cope with infectious diseases. During the 1918 pandemic, the hospital offered limited treatment, with dozens, if not even hundreds, of patients with cough symptoms in one ward, separated by a thin layer of cotton.
Victor C. Vaughan, dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, recalls what he saw at a field hospital, “I saw hundreds of young men in military uniforms in the hospital, who came into the ward in droves and coughed up sputum with blood.” Every morning, bodies piled up in the morgue. “This incurable infectious disease has left Vaughn deeply frustrated. “The deadly flu, ” he said, highlighting the inability of human intervention.
At present, we understand the importance of infection control and the need to isolate patients from cross-infection, as well as ICUs dedicated to treating critically ill patients. In some cases, patients even need to use artificial lungs, which can oxygen the blood, remove harmful gases from the blood, temporarily replace the work of the lungs, for influenza or new coronary pneumonia patients, artificial lung is the last treatment, but it is effective. For patients with the disease – usually young and have no other heart and lung base disease – artificial lungs can often take them back from the dead.
In addition to having specialized equipment, we also have professional first aid, critical and infectious disease medical personnel. A century ago, health care workers would not have been trained in such a professional way. Medical staff treating influenza are also responsible for the treatment of orthopaedic diseases, even delivery and surgical removal of appendicitis.
Now, we take professionalization of doctors for granted, and sometimes because they can’t cover a hundred diseases and complain a few words, but it is this specialization that gives many patients a chance to recover.
We don’t fully understand how new coronary pneumonia spreads and its pathogenicity. Early data show that, like influenza, new coronary pneumonia is highly susceptible to complications, especially in patients with older age, compromised immune systems and other chronic heart and lung diseases. But unlike the flu, the new coronary pneumonia doesn’t seem to make a serious case of a child – although the reason is not clear, it’s a blessing in luck.
If there is one similarity between the 1918 pandemic and the current new coronary pneumonia, it is that people are panicking. In December 1918, 1,000 public health officials gathered in Chicago to discuss the disease, not knowing where it came from, without treatment, and not knowing how to control transmission.
While waiting for the outbreak to subside, it is important not to party, wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when coughing, and be isolated from home after a disease, and while it may sound less high-tech, these measures can reduce the chance of the virus spreading.