COVID-19 pandemic | US got COVID-19 cases in December 2019, weeks before China: Study
Blood samples collected by the American Red Cross between December 2019 and January 2020 were sent to the CDC to find out if they had novel coronavirus antibodies and traces were found in 106 of 7,389 samples
December 02, 2020 / 07:33 AM IST
COVID-19 positive cases were present in the US in December 2019, weeks before China reported the first cases, a study has found. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province only on December 31, 2019, following which the novel coronavirus was identified.
The study titled ‘Serologic Testing of US Blood Donations to Identify SARS-CoV-2-Reactive Antibodies: December 2019 to January 2020’ that was published on November 30, found 106 infections among the 7,389 blood samples that were collected from donors across nine US states between December 13, 2019 and January 17, 2020.
“The findings of this report suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the US in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized,” the study said.
The blood samples were collected by the American Red Cross and were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find out if they had novel coronavirus antibodies.
The study findings strengthen speculations that the novel coronavirus was spreading globally much before it was officially reported by China, and it may trigger fresh debates around the origin of the virus.
Earlier, a patient in France, who was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms towards the end of December, was found to be COVID-19 positive.