Study sheds light on how early coronavirus started circulating in U.S.

SA records 2302 new Covid-19 cases, 58 more deaths reported

Coronavirus was silently circulating worldwide earlier than known.

This discovery adds to evidence that the virus was quietly spreading around the world before health officials and the public were aware, disrupting previous thinking of how the illness first emerged and how it has since evolved.

A study published Monday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases conducted by researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the novel virus was present in the United States as early as mid-December 2019. They also discovered antibodies in 67 samples from Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin in early January - before widespread outbreaks in those states.

SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were found in 39 samples from California, Oregon and Washington state collected between December 13 and December 16, and also in 67 samples in Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin or Iowa, and CT or Rhode Island collected between December 30 and January 17.

"Widespread community transmission was not likely until late February", the authors note.

"The presence of these serum antibodies indicate that isolated SARS-CoV-2 infections may have occurred in the western portion of the United States earlier than previously recognized or that a small portion of the population may have pre-existing antibodies that bind SARS-CoV-2", the report states.

SA records 2302 new Covid-19 cases, 58 more deaths reported
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 2.15 million mark: Africa CDC

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News.

Kamboj and colleagues used cell cultures to detect viable virus in serially collected respiratory samples from 18 recipient cancer patients who received hematopoietic stem-cell transplants or vehicle T-cell therapy, and two with lymphoma.

Scientists behind the finding say this "memory" of viruses past could explain why some people are only slightly affected by COVID-19, while others get severely sick. Although they detected antibodies, that does not mean they are "true positive" COVID-19 tests.

Limitations of the research include the possibility of false-positive antibody tests.

© Daniel Acker/Reuters A nurse dons personal protective equipment (PPE) as she prepares to enter the room of a COVID-19 patient being treated at UW Health University Hospital in Madison, Wis., on November 18, 2020.


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