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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
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

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.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Earlier, a patient in France, who was hospitalised with flu-like symptoms towards the end of December, was found to be COVID-19 positive.

Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 1, 2020 05:36 pm

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