The authors were interested in the specific clinical features associated with COVID-19 pneumonias. They studied 19 COVID-19 and 15 other pneumonia patients in Hubei. The COVID-19 vs. non-COVID-19 status was confirmed through RT-PCR of throat swabs and/or sputum. All of the patients had a history of exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or travel to Hubei prior to their illness. The median time period between exposure and symptom onset was 8 days for COVID-19 and 5 days for non-COVID-19. The clinical symptoms were similar between the groups, with the most common symptoms being fever and cough. 79.0% of COVID-19 compared with 26.7% of non-COVID-19 patients had bilateral involvement, while 89.5% of COVID-19 and only 6.7% non-COVID-19 patients had multiple mottling and ground-glass opacity on CT chest. Compared with non-COVID-19, COVID-19 presented with markedly more abnormal laboratory results, including AST, ALT, γ-GT, LDH and α-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (α-HBDH). Therefore COVID-19 looks similar to other pneumonias at their onset and CT scan may be a reliable test for screening. Liver function damage is more frequent in COVID-19 than other pneumonias and so LDH and α-HBDH may be used as biomarkers for the disease.
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