Both peer-reviewed (which means it’s been checked by other scientists) and pre-print (put online for speedy dissemination, but not thoroughly checked) research studies on the virus are coming out every day in leading medical journals and medical pre-print websites.
We’ve put together a summary of some of the coronavirus research published or posted in the past week.
But before we get started, some caveats.
This summary is designed to inform you about current research, and does not act as clinical advice.
The nature of scientific research is that it changes as we learn more — and that is certainly the case for research on coronavirus, which is changing every day.
Over time, some of these findings may be superseded, contradicted or even proven wrong by further research — but as of 2 April 2020, these studies are based on the best available early data.
Research: Estimating fatality rates of coronavirus
Research status: This is a peer-reviewed study from the Imperial College London, that was published in The Lancet medical journal on March 30, 2020.
What they found: In China, the “case fatality rate” or CFR — which is the percentage of people out of all those who are diagnosed with the disease, who die from it — was estimated to be 1.38 per cent across all demographics.
In other words, for every 100 people infected with the virus, 1.38 died from it.
Of course, you can’t have 1.38 people die — but multiplied across the cases in a country, you can start to get an idea of how many people may die from COVID-19.
Also in China, the CFR for people under 60 was estimated to be 0.318 per cent. However, it was 6.38 per cent for those over the age of 60.
So there were significant differences in someone’s chances of dying from COVID-19 depending on their on age.
Why it matters: Estimating CFRs for different demographic groups can highlight which groups are most at risk.
These estimates of fatality rates are higher than for other recent influenza pandemics (H1N1 in 2009), which highlights the global threat of coronavirus compared to previous pandemics.
Research like this is important because it can inform countries on how best to prepare.
The caveats: The researchers note that as more clinical knowledge of the virus is obtained, it’s important that these estimates are revised.
CFR is based on the number of people diagnosed with a disease — if many people have the disease but don’t get diagnosed, that can make the fatality rate artificially high.
CFRs are difficult to estimate for the global population or for other countries at the moment, as rates of infection and death are changing rapidly.
Original article appeared here.