Confusion over where and when the coronavirus first emerged has been rekindled by reports which suggest that an Italian boy who had no travelling history tested positive for the novel virus as early as November 2019.
This was three months before the illness was confirmed in the region which suggests that the virus was already circulating there in late fall, researchers said.
Introducing the Pindula News Mobil App
Download from Google Play Store
The official report of the emergence of the virus was made in China on 17 November 2019 prompting many to conclude that the novel virus emerged in the Asian country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a four-year-old boy in Italy started coughing on November 21, 2019, and was brought to the hospital about a week later.
According to researchers from Milan’s Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, the boy was suspected of having measles after coming down with symptoms that included vomiting, respiratory problems and rashes.
But tests of a sample from him were performed retroactively on December 5, 2019, and showed he was positive for the virus.
Researchers said they were unable to determine the origin of the virus strain since the specimen was taken from the boy’s throat, instead of his nose.
China has previously tried to push the theory that the contagion broke out in Italy as early as September 2019, not in its city of Wuhan.
Scientists, however, have noted that even if the virus was in Italy earlier than previously known, it does not rule out the outbreak originating in China. Giovanni Apolone of Milan’s National Cancer Institute told the Times of London:
We know that China delayed announcing its outbreak so there is no telling when it started there, and China has very strong commercial links with northern Italy.
The virus was first reported in China in December last year although it is alleged that an unpublicised report from the Chinese government says the first case can be traced back to 17 November 2019.
More: New York Post