Italian molecular biologists have found that the first cases of coronavirus infection occurred in Italy at the end of January, a few weeks before he was diagnosed in the first patient. They published their findings in the electronic scientific library medRxiv.
"The data we have collected indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the same coronavirus of a new type, - approx. TASS) entered the territory of Northern Italy between the second half of January and the beginning of February 2020, that is, long before how they began to restrain its spread. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the virus entered Italy along several routes at once, "the scientists write.
Molecular biologists from the University of Milan and doctors from the Luigi Sacco Hospital came to this conclusion by decoding the genomes of virus samples that were extracted from the bodies of the first three victims of COVID-19 in Lombardy (an administrative region in northern Italy). Further, experts compared them with each other, as well as with SARS-CoV-2 samples from other regions of Europe.
Their calculations indicated that all Italian samples of the virus were very close relatives to each other. In addition, they were similar to those strains of SARS-CoV-2 that doctors isolated from the body of the first victims of COVID-19 in Germany in the last third of January. At the same time, despite the fact that doctors removed all three samples of the virus from the bodies of Italian patients on the same day, there were several different mutations in their genomes.
All this, as the researchers note, suggests that the virus appeared in Italy early enough. In addition, it follows from this that he could penetrate into Lombardy both from China and from Germany. This happened, as scientists note, between January 20 and February 16, when the Italian version of the virus infiltrated Brazil, Mexico and several European countries.
About the new coronavirus
Currently, more than 244 thousand cases of infection with the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) have been registered in the world, more than 10 thousand infected have died, over 86 thousand people have recovered. Outside the PRC, the disease COVID-19, which causes this virus, was detected in 160 countries, including Russia. To inform about the situation in the Russian government launched the website stopcoronavirus.rf.
A vaccine for this disease is now being developed in many countries of the world, including Russia. Several scientific groups have already begun testing the drugs on animals. Nevertheless, scientists cannot yet say the exact timing of the appearance of a drug for COVID-19 - estimates vary from six months to 2-3 years.