Rome, December 18Italian researchers recently found that the novel coronavirus was found in oropharyngeal swab samples collected by suspected children with measles collected last December.
Researchers from the University of Milan, Italy, published a paper in the online edition of the U.S. Journal of Novel Infectious Diseases that they tested 39 oropharyngeal swab samples collected between September 2019 and February 2020, from patients with suspected measles but eventually negative measles. It was found that a 4-year-old boy living around Milan, Italy, tested positive for COVID-19.
This oropharyngeal swab sample was collected on December 5, 2019, and the boy had no history of traveling for a period of time before that. The researchers sequenced the virus and found that the genome sequence of the virus strain was 100% the same as the reference sequence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan.
In the paper, the researchers said that the case was significantly earlier than the official announcement of Italy’s first confirmed case of the country’s first coronavirus, and it is speculated that there may have been a coronavirus case in Italy and other European countries at the end of last fall. This conjecture is consistent with the inferences of some previous studies.