There is some hope: Early intervention could play a role in longer-term outcomes of coronavirus patients, said Ivan Hung, a professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong. Hung said in April that 90% of about 200 discharged patients he oversaw at a clinic at one of the city’s hospitals appear to be making a full recovery a month out.

He attributed the success to Hong Kong’s “early diagnosis and early treatment” of patients, which leaves the virus with less time to wreak havoc on the body.

This may not be possible in many countries like the U.S. and U.K where testing is uneven and inadequate, and only those with serious symptoms are getting treatment.

Still, larger-scale studies in virus hot spots are needed to separate the physical legacy of the virus from how patients feel immediately after fighting off the infection. It will be crucial for scientists to track and quantify how Covid-19 affects such factors as oxygenation and breathing rate, said Roberto Bruzzone, a visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong, whose research focuses on cell biology.

Hospitals and researchers will have begun patient registries to start gathering data to study survivors over time as well.

“We need an epidemiological study that may be feasible in places like Wuhan, New York City, Milan or Paris -- where there has been a huge group of infections with a wide variety of symptoms,” Bruzzone said.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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