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Top Chinese academicians become warriors in battle against novel coronavirus

(People's Daily Online)    10:29, March 19, 2020

In China’s battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic, many renowned academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) have become known as “warriors in white”, courageously fighting the epidemic on the front line of the battle.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, these academicians have stepped forward bravely, led research teams in the race against time and fight against the disease, playing the leading role in the main battlefield of nationwide efforts to combat the epidemic with no regard for their own safety.

Let’s get a closer look at some of the academicians who have fought on the front line of China’s battle against the novel coronavirus, learn their stories about combating the epidemic, and get an idea of how their boundless kindness and love drive them to do what they do.

Li Lanjuan

“A doctor should be ready to explore the unknown.”

Renowned Chinese epidemiologist Li Lanjuan has fought on the front line against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic that hit China in 2003, H7N9 bird flu virus in 2013, and now the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Jan. 18, Li, an academician with the CAE and head of the State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, arrived in Wuhan to carry out field research as a member of the high-level expert team sent by the National Health Commission (NHC).

Before dawn on Feb. 2, Li, the 73-year-old epidemiologist came to Wuhan for the second time since the outbreak, bringing to the virus-hit city the Li Non-Bioartificial Liver (NBL), an artificial liver support system, and treatment models including the “four fights and two balances”.

Li has spent a month working at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, making great efforts to improve the epidemic situation in a variety of ways, including preventing severe cases from turning into critical cases, preventing secondary bacterial infections, and reducing the incidence of pulmonary fibrosis.

Many netizens were touched when they saw a close-up photo of her face etched with marks left by wearing masks for prolonged periods. The picture was taken right after she came out of the intensive care unit (ICU) and took off her protective suit.

“Only by seeing the conditions of patients in person can you make the right judgment and decision. Chatting with patients can also help them lift their mood. Doctors should pay attention to everything about patients,” Li said.

Healing the wounded and rescuing the dying has been something Li had wanted to do since she studied at the School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 40 years ago.

During her time in Wuhan, Li arrived at the command center of the national medical teams in Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University at 8:30 a.m. every day, and then started making the rounds of the wards.

“I’m used to making the rounds of the wards, taking part in consultations during the day and reading materials and revising papers at night,” said Li, who added that she gets up at 6:30 a.m. every day, and always aims to go to bed by midnight, but often loses track of time when she is busy with work.

While treating patients in Wuhan, Li also held tele-consultations for patients in other provinces of the country.

Li says that she is also responsible for the telemedicine treatment of patients she received before coming to Wuhan, adding that she handles this task mainly on her mobile phone.

“I’m also responsible for many training tasks, such as explaining the ‘four fights and two balances’ treatment strategy to front-line medical workers,” Li explained.

“Now we are seeing more and more patients being discharged from hospitals, and the challenges of patient admissions has been gradually resolved. The battle against the epidemic has seen important phased results,” Li said.

Some of the patients she treated came to thank her before being discharged from hospital, while others in the ICU thanked her for developing the artificial liver support system, which Li says is the best possible reward for her.

“In 1986, I got 3,000 yuan (about $428.22) in scientific research funds for young scholars, which was the first research fund I received in my life. Then some colleagues of mine and I devoted ourselves to the development of artificial liver technology. By 1996, we successfully cured 45 patients with our system,” Li recalled.

The artificial liver support system developed by Li has been proven to be extremely effective in treating patients in the current epidemic. In Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University alone, the system saw an improvement rate of 77.8 percent in the treatment of severe cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia.

While fully taking on the previous experience of predecessors, “a doctor should be ready to explore the unknown,” noted Li.


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(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)

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