The Milan Tumor Institute and the University of Siena (Italy) have assured that the Sars-CoV-2 virus was circulating in Italy as early as September 2019, almost half a year before the first cases were detected in February in the Lombard town of Codogno.
Both institutions published an article in the magazine Tumors Journal in which they ensure that, analyzing lung tumor testing of 959 subjects between September 2019 and March 2020, 11.6% of them (111) already had coronavirus antibodies, 14% already in September.
More than half of the people who by then they already had antibodies53.2% were from Lombardy. But the presence of the pathogen was not limited to that region, the one hardest hit by the pandemic, but the positives were from five regions of the country.
“This study shows an unexpected very early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 between asymptomatic people in Italy several months before the first patient was identified, and clarifies the onset and spread of the pandemic. Finding antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in asymptomatic people before the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy may change the history of the pandemic“say the researchers in their study.
The first case of Covid diagnosed so far is dated February 21 in a small town in Milan, in the Lombardia region, in the north of the country, which was one of the foci of the first wave of the pandemic.
Scientists from the University of Siena have explained in their work, entitled ‘Unexpected detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the pre-pandemic period in Italy’, that four patients studied presented antibodies that neutralize the virus in October, which means that they were infected in September.
Three levels of restrictions
Italy registered this Sunday 33,979 new infections of coronavirus in the last twenty-four hours, a lower figure than the previous day although much fewer tests have been done, and 546 people have lost their lives, confirmed the Ministry of Health.
To stop the virus, the Government has decreed -in principle- until December 3 a national curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time (9 p.m.-4 a.m. GMT). Restricted restaurant hours and has closed cinemas, theaters, gyms or swimming pools.
But above all it has imposed a system with three levels of restrictions at the regional level -red, orange and yellow- to impose the most severe ones on the most affected territories and avoid a total closure of the country, which would penalize the least infected.
The “red” regions are practically confined, less severe that yes than the one of last spring. There are currently seven regions at this level: Lombardy, Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Tuscany, Trentino-Alto Adige (north), and the southern Campania and Calabria (the latter due to its precarious hospital system).