A team of researchers at Italy’s National Cancer Institute (INT) revealed that the coronavirus may have been in Italy long before the World Health Organization announced the virus in December 2019.
This was disclosed in a Reuters report on Sunday evening. Italy officially reported its first case in the Lombardy region on the 21st of February.
Italian researchers disclosed that 11.6% in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019- March 2020 already had covid-19 antibodies before February.
The Institute said Italy’s Lombardy region had reported higher than normal cases of flu and pneumonia in the 4th quarter of 2019, which are symptoms of the virus and a sign that the virus may have been in Europe before the WHO announced the news of the disease to the world.
“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.
Researchers disclosed that trialists had developed no symptoms and also had antibodies able to kill the virus,
“It means that the new coronavirus can circulate among the population for long and with a low rate of lethality not because it is disappearing but only to surge again,” Apolone added.