New Evidence Of Early Covid-19 Infections In The United States

Spain sees first cases of people simultaneously infected with delta and omicron

A new antibody testing study examining samples originally collected through the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program found evidence of Covid-19 infections in five states earlier than had initially been reported.

A new antibody testing study examining samples originally collected through the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program found evidence of Covid infections in five states earlier than had initially been reported. These findings were published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The results expand on findings from a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention study that suggested SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was present in the US as far back as December 2019.

In the All of Us study, researchers analysed more than 24,000 stored blood samples contributed by program participants across all 50 states between January 2 and March 18, 2020. Researchers detected antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 using two different serology tests in nine participants’ samples. These participants were from outside the major urban hotspots of Seattle and New York City, believed to be key points of entry of the virus in the U.S. The positive samples came as early as January 7 from participants in Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Most positive samples were collected prior to the first reported cases in those states, demonstrating the importance of expanding testing as quickly as possible in an epidemic setting.

“This study allows us to uncover more information about the beginning of the US epidemic and highlights the real-world value of longitudinal research in understanding dynamics of emerging diseases like Covid-19,” said Josh Denny, chief executive officer of All of Us and an author of the study.

“Our participants come from diverse communities across the US and give generously of themselves to drive a wide range of biomedical discoveries, which are vital for informing public health strategies and preparedness,” he added.

“Antibody testing of blood samples helps us better understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the US in the early days of the US epidemic, when testing was restricted and public health officials could not see that the virus had already spread outside of recognized initial points of entry,” added Keri N. Althoff, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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