ROME (Reuters) – The new coronovirus was roaming Italy since September 2019, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) in Milan, Italy, indicating that COVID-19 was probably never thought of before.
The World Health Organization has said that the new coronovirus and COVID-19, causing respiratory disease, were unknown before the outbreak in December in Wuhan, central China.
Italy’s first COVID-19 patient was found on 21 February 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 who developed lung cancer screening between September 2019 and March 2020 developed coronavirus antibodies well before February. .
Another specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody test was conducted by the University of Siena, entitled “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in pre-pandemic in Italy” for the same research in 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 with no symptoms were not only positive after serological tests, but also antibodies capable of killing the virus,” Apollon said.
“This means that the new coronovirus can move between populations for a longer period of time and with a lower rate, as it is disappearing but only to grow again,” he said.
Italian researchers told Reuters in March that they had reported the number of common cases of severe pneumonia and flu in Lombardy in the last quarter of 2019, more than a sign that new coronoviruses could be transmitted earlier than previously thought.
Reporting by Giselda Vegnoni; Editing by Emilia Sithole-Mataris