Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.
One of the first people to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States hopes a legacy of her nightmare—the antibodies it left in her blood—will lead to a drug that can help others infected with the novel coronavirus that has now killed more than 250,000 people worldwide.
Early this year, the woman had just learned of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, when she flew to Beijing to celebrate the Lunar New Year with her elderly parents and extended family. A brother from Wuhan joined the gathering on 23 January, catching one of the last flights out before the city went into lockdown. Days later, her father developed a fever, but the family wasn’t concerned. “My dad always has some fever in the winter,” says the woman, a researcher who asked to be called Dr. X to protect her privacy.