China finally conducts first autopsies on coronavirus victims


China has finally conducted the first autopsies on victims killed by the COVID-19 coronavirus around seven weeks after the outbreak emerged in the city of Wuhan and over five weeks after the first patient died.

The news comes after a leading doctor claimed that government red tape was to blame for the delay of the 'critical' procedure, which could help medics and scientists better understand the disease.

Two corpses were examined yesterday in Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak - and the results have been submitted for further examination, according to Chinese state media.

Chinese pathologist Liu Liang who led both autopsies in Wuhan's Jinyintan Hospital

China reported the first death from coronavirus on January 11. A 61-year-old man died on January 9 at Wuhan's Jinyintan Hospital, having been the first person hospitalised there after suffering shortness of breath and severe pneumonia.

The second victim, a 69-year-old man, died in the early hours of January 15 in the same hospital.

Pathologist Liu Liang who led both procedures last week said the delay of the autopsies was likely caused by the red tape.

He said right after the epidemic started, he submitted an emergency report to the Hubei government, stressing the importance of postmortem examinations. He said his report received a 'positive' reply.

Speaking to Beijing Youth Daily, he added that many hospitals in Wuhan had expressed willingness in participating in the process. 

He suspected that these hospitals had not received officials documents to allow them to carry on with the operations. 

He added that it was also possible that relevant hospitals had worried about the risks of performing autopsies on coronavirus victims. 

The first postmortem was performed at 3am at Wuhan's Jinyintan Hospital and the second one was finished at 6:45pm. 

Each operation lasted for three hours and the results can be expected in 10 days, Prof. Liu told China News.

Prof. Liu said autopsies and their subsequent examinations could allow scientists to observe the layout of the virus in the human bodies and the damage it brought to organs. 

He said they could help doctors diagnose and treat relevant patients better.

The autopsies took place around seven weeks after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus was detected in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province.

Prof. Liu did not explain if the autopsies were performed on the corpses of the first two victims or other deceased patients. 

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk

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