Scientists found antibodies in last year’s blood bank blood donation.
According to new government research, the coronavirus may have been present in the United States weeks earlier than scientists realized.
According to a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases Monday, the virus was already present in the United States last December.
“SARS-CoV-2 infections may have occurred in the United States in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized,” the study authors write. “These results also highlight the value of blood donation as a source for conducting SARS-CoV-2 monitoring.”
Among the donations. 39 samples collected from California, Washington, and Oregon between Dec. 13 and 16 contained antibodies. Samples collected in early January in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin contained 77 COVID-19 antibodies.
The presence of the virus in the United States in December does not mean that the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, was prevalent in the United States at the time.
“Extensive community coverage was only likely at the end of February,” the authors note.
Limitations of the research include the possibility of false positive antibody tests.
In addition, blood donation is not representative of the general population, so data cannot be extrapolated to indicate the magnitude of infections during the study period, nor whether these infections were community-based or travel-based.
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