Coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019
The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy since September 2019, a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Italian city of Milan shows, signalling that COVID-19 might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought.
Italian researchers’ findings, published by the INT’s scientific magazine Tumori Journal, show that 11,6% of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020, had developed coronavirus antibodies well before February.
A further specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies test was carried out by the University of Siena for the same research titled “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the pre-pandemic period in Italy”.
It showed that four cases dated back to the first week of October were also positive for antibodies neutralizing the virus, meaning they had got infected in September, Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, told Reuters.
Preprint: Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the pre-pandemic period in Italy
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay