June 16, 2021 — A brand new evaluation of blood samples reveals the coronavirus presumably arrived in the U.S. as early as December 2019.

A small variety of COVID-19 infections seem to have occurred in the U.S. a number of weeks earlier than public well being officers recognized the primary circumstances. More evaluation is required, however the timeline is being accepted by extra well being officers, The Associated Press reported.

“The studies are pretty consistent,” Natalie Thornburg, PhD, the principal investigator for the CDC’s respiratory virus immunology crew, instructed the information service.

“There was probably very rare and sporadic cases here earlier than we were aware of,” she stated. “But it was not widespread and didn’t become widespread until late February.”

The first U.S. an infection was recognized on Jan. 20, 2020, after a person in Washington state returned from journey to Wuhan, China, on Jan. 15 and visited a well being clinic on Jan. 19, the AP reported. The CDC has stated the U.S. outbreak began between mid-January and early February, although the brand new analysis factors to a handful of earlier circumstances.

The newest examine, which was executed by the National Institutes of Health and revealed Tuesday in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, checked out blood samples from greater than 24,000 folks in the U.S. that had been collected between January and mid-March 2020. The analysis crew regarded for antibodies that would point out earlier coronavirus an infection.

Seven folks — three in Illinois and one every in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — had been contaminated sooner than COVID-19 circumstances had been initially reported in the 5 states. One of the Illinois circumstances may have occurred as early as Christmas Eve, the researchers stated

The evaluation isn’t definitive as a result of the antibodies for COVID-19 seem just like antibodies for different coronaviruses, the AP reported. To reduce false optimistic outcomes, the NIH researchers used a number of checks that search for COVID-19 antibodies that bind to completely different components of the virus. The crew plans to launch extra info after additional evaluation, the NIH stated in a press release.

The NIH scientists additionally discovered it notable that the seven folks didn’t reside in New York City or Seattle, the place the primary U.S. outbreaks occurred in 2020.

“The question is how did, and where did, the virus take seed,” Keri Althoff, PhD, the lead examine writer and an epidemiologist on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, instructed the AP.

“It probably seeded in multiple places in our country,” she stated.

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The Associated Press: “More evidence suggests COVID-19 was in US by Christmas 2019.”

Clinical Infectious Diseases: “Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in All of Us Research Program Participants, January 2-March 18, 2020.”

National Institutes of Health: “NIH study offers new evidence of early SARS-CoV-2 infections in U.S.”

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