COVID-19 may have been in Italy as early as September 2019: study

COVID-19 may have been in Italy as early as September 2019: study


A new study has found that the coronavirus may have spread outside of China far earlier than previously thought.

A study by the National Cancer Institute said the deadly virus appears to have been circulating in Milan last September — five months before Italy’s first COVID-19 patient was detected, and three months before the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China.

Italian researchers now report that 12 percent of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020 developed coronavirus antibodies long before Feb. 21, when the country’s first case was identified.

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Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, says four cases dated back to early October 2019, which meant the healthy volunteers would have been infected in September.

“This is the main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests but had also antibodies able to kill the virus,” Apolone said.

“It means that the new coronavirus

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