Physicians across the country are beginning to get a better grasp of the deadly novel coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases in the UK currently stands at 5,702 with a death toll of 282.
Doctors have warned that people diagnosed with COVID-19 will often see a break in symptoms before their condition suddenly worsens.
Medical experts have reported that symptoms are often mild early on, with patients complaining of slight coughs, headaches and low-grade fevers.
However, it seems things will get better before they get worse.
Dr Joshua Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician in the US has explained how the disease progresses.
The US physician, who works at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans has treated about 15 to 20 COVID-19 patients.
Mr Denson described the first phase of the disease as a “slow burn”.
He told NBC news: “Patients tend to have symptoms for about a week before either getting better, or getting really sick.”
Many other doctors have reported similar findings in their own patients.
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Fellow physician Dr Ken Lyn-Kew, a pulmonologist in the critical care department at National Jewish Health in Denver, also reported of cases where patients may feel better before turning critically ill.
He said: “It seems like there’s a period of time where the body is trying to sort out whether it can beat this or not.”
He said that patients who suddenly turn critical often report feeling slightly better before symptoms get worse.
He added: “They’re doing okay, and then all of a sudden they’re really fatigued, a lot more shorter of breath and having chest pain.”
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The findings have been ecchoed by infectious diseases expert Dr Christopher Ohl, professor of medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
He told NBC News: “They say: ‘Hey, you know, I think I’m getting over this,’ and then within 20 to 24 hours, they’ve got fevers, severe fatigue, worsening cough and shortness of breath,
“Then they get hospitalized.”
Meanwhile, in the UK, scientists have made a discovery which they hope will be the secret weapon in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
Academics have discovered an antibody in the blood of a patient with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which they hope could neutralise the deadly coronavirus.
Scientists from non-profit organisation Diamond, in Harwell, Oxfordshire, used an X-ray machine to analyse the blood of a patient who previously had SARS.
They found the antibody in the patient that was diagnosed with SARS in 2004 using the Diamond Light Source, a powerful machine which uses electrons to produce light beams to enable scientists to investigate viruses.
Findings revealed this person had an antibody, which could cling onto a virus and fight it using the body’s natural immune defences.
Diamond’s deputy life sciences director, Professor Gwyndaf Evans revealed that the antibody latched on to the coronavirus even better than it had done with SARS.
He told The Daily Telegraph: ”Coronavirus has a spherical body with spikes coming out of the surface and it gets the name because of the shape of the spike, because it looks like a crown.
“The team has isolated the spike protein and looked at the surviving SARS patient to see if they can identify an antibody binding in the right place that has the potential to be useful.
“We found one that looks even better for binding to coronavirus, so we’re hoping it could become a therapy.”
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