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Top physician calls for urgent studies on nucleic acid, serum antibody

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2020-03-14 15:05
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A researcher does a nucleic acid test at the KingMed Diagnostics, a company commissioned to do coronavirus infection test in Wuhan, on March 2, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

A leading Chinese physician has stressed that it is " extremely urgent" to carry out as soon as possible epidemiological surveys, on both nucleic acid and serum antibody in the infected, in major regions hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Such surveys are key in offering a baseline for future comparison that could help know how the virus transmits and causes disease, Wang Chen, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Xinhua News Agency.

"Nobody yet knows if the novel coronavirus will be gone like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), exist chronically as flu that occurs intermittently or stay in bodies that lack of adequate immunity against it and keep spreading. Or if there are other scenarios," said Wang, who has been in the frontline of the battle against the epidemic in Hubei provincial capital  city of Wuhan for over 40 days.

Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, has reported most of the infections and fatalities on the Chinese mainland.

Wang, also president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said the surveys are major approaches that could help seek for answers for these questions.

"Generally, the peak of the epidemic in China has passed. Now, the surveys should be started timely and immediately to get the baseline information of nucleic acid and serum antibody in people in the worst-hit cities such as Wuhan and other major areas," he said.

He stressed that the work cannot be postponed any more as the condition will change after flow of population begins and factories and schools reopen, making it hard to compare.

"Such comparison is of vital importance to judge the trend of the epidemic," he added.

He also called the government to offer necessary support for the surveys.

Aside from serious designing and implementation, it's a must to have "unswerving support" from the government to conduct the surveys well, he emphasized.

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