Coronavirus outbreak: Who is more prone to coronavirus? Lancet study reveals

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Coronavirus risk: While the rapid outbreak of coronavirus left a lot of questions unanswered about the risk, treatment and precautions, three months into the pandemic, a study in The Lancet has said that the people having diseases like high blood pressure or diabetes or older people are at a higher risk of the fatal impact of coronavirus. The study was carried out on 191 patients from two hospitals in China's Wuhan and all had been confirmed to be suffering from coronavirus. The patients had either died due to the disease or had been discharged from the hospital.

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This is the first time researchers looked into the risk factors associated with COVID-19 and deaths among the hospitalised adults.

According to a PTI report, Zhibo Liu from China's Jinyintan Hospital said that old age, signs of sepsis during admission, high blood pressure, diabetes and using non-invasive ventilation for a prolonged period of time caused the deaths of the patients. He added that unfavourable outcomes in older people might partly be due to age-related problems in the immune system, and inflammation, aiding to the multiplication of the virus.

The studied 191 patients included 137 who had been discharged and 54 who died in the hospital. However, the study notes that their findings and their interpretations could be limited due to the small sample size for the study.

The study also presented data on viral shedding, which showed that the median time of viral shedding among survivors was 20 days, ranging from 8 to 37 days, while in the 54 non-survivors, the virus was detectable by the time they died.

If the viral shedding is prolonged, it indicates that the patients might still be capable of spreading the coronavirus. However, the researchers said that the duration of viral shedding varied according to the severity of the disease.

As many as 67% of the studied patients had been suffering from severe or critical levels of the illness. The PTI report quoted China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Capital Medical University's Professor Bin Cao as saying that the viral shedding data in the study could have important implications regarding the isolation precautions and the treatment in patients suffering from the infection.

Cao further said, as quoted by PTI, said that viral shedding time should not be confused with the self-isolation guidance for people who might have exposure to coronavirus but were not showing symptoms, as the guidance for self-isolation has been framed on the basis of the incubation time of the virus.

This is the first time that the study has been able to give a complete picture with respect to the progression of COVID-19. The study found that in both survivors and non-survivors, the median duration of fever was 12 days. Cough could last for a long time, the study added, citing that 45% survivors still had cough during discharge. Shortnesss of breath in survivors ceased after about 13 days, while it lasted till death for the non-survivors.