SCIENTISTS claim that COVID-19 has been circulating in Italy since as early as September 2019.
Despite the first official case being registered in Wuhan, China, Italian scientists believe that the coronavirus has actually been around much earlier, after patients in a cancer trial were found to have developed coronavirus antibodies.
According to findings published by Milan’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), samples from four patients, dating back to the start of October 2019, were found to contain antibodies.
In the study, it was found that 11.6 percent of blood samples from 959 healthy volunteers, who were enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020, had developed antibodies well before February, when the first case in Lombardy, Italy was reported.
Giovanni Apolone, a co-author of the study, which has not been peer-reviewed, said: “This is the main finding: people with no symptoms not only were positive after the serological tests, but had also antibodies able to kill the virus.