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Incubation for novel coronavirus could reach 24 days in rare cases

By LI LEI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-02-10 16:36
Medical workers in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, January 24, 2020. /Xinhua Photo

The incubation period for the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 900 in the Chinese mainland, could reach 24 days in rare cases, recent research has found.

The median incubation period is three days, lower than the estimated 5.2 days, according to research conducted by Zhong Nanshan, a prominent scientist who is leading a government-appointed panel of experts helping control the coronavirus outbreak.

The findings could be used to guide the quarantine practice of targeting the close contacts of coronavirus patients, according to the research, whose findings were published on Sunday on medRxiv, the free online archive and distribution server for complete but unpublished medical papers.

Guan Weijie, a member of the research team, told Red Star News on Monday that the coronavirus only in very rare cases has incubated for 24 days, and there's no need to prolong the isolation period for suspected patients.

The research was based on a sample of 1,099 novel coronavirus patients selected from 552 hospitals across the nation, with a median age of 47.

Among them, 2.09 percent are medical workers and 43.95 percent were residents in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province -- where the virus was first found in December. More than a quarter of them have not been to Wuhan or met any returnees from the provincial capital.

Female patients account for 41.9 percent of the sample, more than a quarter have at least one underlying conditions, and only 1.18% had direct contact with wild animals, the research said.

The research found that the pathogen's fatality rate was 0.88 percent.

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