Scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday (Nov 30) that tests of blood samples taken in the United States from Dec 13 last year revealed evidence of antibodies for the Covid-19 virus, known as Sars-Cov-2.
The samples were taken more than two weeks before the Dec 31 official confirmation of the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and as much as a month earlier than the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the US on Jan 19, according to the CDC report.
Antibodies are generated by the human immune system to identify and attack pathogens in the body and are specific to each type of virus, bacteria or parasite.
The finding follows an analysis published in Italy last month of blood samples taken since Sept 2019, which also indicated the presence of antibodies against the new coronavirus.
The Trump administration in the US has blamed the outbreak — and the devastation of the pandemic — on China, while Beijing has responded with rhetoric of its own.