A person wears a protective mask as he sits near the Colosseum, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues until November 12, 2020 in Rome, Italy.
Guglielmo Mangipani | Reuters
A study from the National Cancer Institute (INT) of Milan, Italy, from September 2019 showed that the new coronovirus was roaming Italy, indicating that Kovid-19 may have spread further from China than previously.
The World Health Organization has said that the new coronovirus and Kovid-19, the cause of respiratory disease, were unknown before the outbreak in December in Wuhan, central China.
The first Kovid-19 patient from Italy was detected on February 21 in a small town near Milan in the northern region of Lombardy.
But findings from Italian researchers published by INT’s scientific journal Tomorrow Journal show that 11.6% of the 959 healthy volunteers involved in lung cancer screening between September 2019 and March 2020 developed coronavirus antibodies well before February.
Another specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody test was carried out by the University of Siena, entitled “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the same pre-emptive period Italy”.
It showed that four cases returned in the first week of October were also positive for antibodies that neutralized the virus, meaning they were infected in September, study co-author Giovanni Apollon told Reuters.
“This is the main finding: people without symptoms were not only positive after serological tests, but also antibodies that were capable of killing the virus,” said Apollon.
“This means that the new coronovirus can spread longitudinally among populations and with lower rates, as it is disappearing but only to increase again,” he said.
Italian researchers told Reuters in March that they reported the number of common cases of severe pneumonia and flu in Lombardi in the last quarter of 2019, more than a sign that new coronoviruses could be transmitted earlier than previously thought.