On 2 Jan 2020, a group of clinician-researchers at the Jinyintan Hospital here, along with colleagues at other institutions, launched a study of 41 patients suffering from a new, atypical pneumonia.
The team assembled clinical data, laboratory results, and chest x-rays; tracked the production of immune system molecules called cytokines; and noted the use of antivirals, antibiotics, and corticosteroids. Thirteen of the patients required intensive care, and six died.
The group’s observations, published online by The Lancet on 24 January 2020, were the first dispatch from the clinical front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and gave clinicians around the world a detailed picture of what to brace for as the virus, then called 2019-nCoV, began to race across the globe.
The paper also contained a clear warning: “We are concerned that 2019-nCoV could have acquired the ability for efficient human transmission,” Chaolin Huang, a Jinyintan medical doctor, and colleagues wrote.
They “strongly recommended” that health care workers use personal protective equipment.
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