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COVID existed in the second half of 2019 - several studies

US Red Cross reported in Nov 2020 of COVID in 2% of the blood donated in late 2019

Serologic Testing of US Blood Donations to Identify Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)–Reactive Antibodies: December 2019–January 2020 - https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1785 FREE PDF

COVID-10 antibodies found in Sept 2019 blood in Italy - Oct 2021

Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy
Tumori. 2021 Oct; 107(5): 446–451. 2020 Nov 11. doi: 10.1177/0300891620974755
Giovanni Apolone,1,* Emanuele Montomoli,2,3,* Alessandro Manenti,3,4 Mattia Boeri,1 Federica Sabia,1 Inesa Hyseni,4 Livia Mazzini,2,4 Donata Martinuzzi,4 Laura Cantone,5 Gianluca Milanese,6 Stefano Sestini,1 Paola Suatoni,1 Alfonso Marchianò,1 Valentina Bollati,5 Gabriella Sozzi,1 and Ugo Pastorino1

There are no robust data on the real onset of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and spread in the prepandemic period worldwide. We investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD)–specific antibodies in blood samples of 959 asymptomatic individuals enrolled in a prospective lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020 to track the date of onset, frequency, and temporal and geographic variations across the Italian regions. SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific antibodies were detected in 111 of 959 (11.6%) individuals, starting from September 2019 (14%), with a cluster of positive cases (>30%) in the second week of February 2020 and the highest number (53.2%) in Lombardy. This study shows an unexpected very early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic individuals in Italy several months before the first patient was identified, and clarifies the onset and spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Finding SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in asymptomatic people before the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy may reshape the history of pandemic.
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YouTube review of the study by Dr. Campbell Nov 2022

Anti-bodies in Italy Oct 19, 2019 - Dec 2021

Timeline of SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Italy: Results from an Independent Serological Retesting
Viruses 2022, 14(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14010061by Emanuele Montomoli et. al

The massive emergence of COVID-19 cases in the first phase of pandemic within an extremely short period of time suggest that an undetected earlier circulation of SARS-CoV-2 might have occurred. Given the importance of this evidence, an independent evaluation was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to test a subset of samples selected on the level of positivity in ELISA assays (positive, low positive, negative) detected in our previous study of prepandemic samples collected in Italy. SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were blindly retested by two independent centers in 29 blood samples collected in the prepandemic period in Italy, 29 samples collected one year before and 11 COVID-19 control samples. The methodologies used included IgG-RBD/IgM-RBD ELISA assays, a qualitative micro-neutralization CPE-based assay, a multiplex IgG protein array, an ELISA IgM kit (Wantai), and a plaque-reduction neutralization test. The results suggest the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in some samples collected in the prepandemic period, with the oldest samples found to be positive for IgM by both laboratories collected on 10 October 2019 (Lombardy), 11 November 2019 (Lombardy) and 5 February 2020 (Lazio), the latter with neutralizing antibodies. The detection of IgM and/or IgG binding and neutralizing antibodies was strongly dependent on the different serological assays and thresholds employed, and they were not detected in control samples collected one year before. These findings, although gathered in a small and selected set of samples, highlight the importance of harmonizing serological assays for testing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and may contribute to a better understanding of future virus dynamics.
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Antibodies: US Dec 14, France Nov 3

COVID might have first started in China in Nov 2019

Could the new coronavirus have infected humans prior November 2019?
PLOS x Published: August 19, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0248255
Aleš Tichopád , Ladislav Pecen, Vratislav Sedlák

The pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is believed to originate in China from where it spread to other parts of the world. The first cluster of diseased individuals was reported in China as early as in December 2019. It has also been well established that the virus stroke Italy later in January or in February 2020, hence distinctly after the outbreak in China. The work by Apolone et al. published in the Italian Medical Journal in November 2020 and retracted upon expression of concern on 22 March 2021, however, propose that the virus could have stroke people already in September 2019, possibly following even earlier outbreak in China. By fitting an early part of the epidemic curve with the exponential and extrapolating it backwards, we could estimate the day-zero of the epidemic and calculated its confidence intervals in Italy and China. We also calculated how probable it is that Italy encountered the virus prior 1 January 2020. We determined an early portion of the epidemic curve representing unhindered exponential growth which fit the exponential model with high determination >0.97 in both countries. We conservatively suggest that the day-zero in China and Italy was 8 December 2019 (95% CI: 3 Dec., 20 Dec.) and 22 January 2020 (95% CI: 16 Jan., 29 Jan.), respectively. Given the uncertainty of the very early data in China and adjusting hence our model to fit the exponentially behaved data only, we can even admit that the pandemic originated through November 2019 (95% CI: 31 Oct., 22 Dec.). With high confidence (p <0.01) China encountered the virus prior Italy. We generally view any pre-pandemic presence of the virus in humans before November 2019 as very unlikely. The later established dynamics of the epidemics data suggests that the country of the origin was China.
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COVID Detected in 2019 – May England, Nov France. Italy Sept. US Dec – correspondence Aug 2021

Undetected and Relatively Sustained Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Circulation Worldwide During 2019
Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 74, Issue 7, 1 April 2022, Pages 1313–1314, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciab727
Stefano Petti 22 August 2021 Correspondence

To the Editor—Althoff and colleagues [1] interestingly reported that between January and March 2020, in a total of 24 079 All-of-Us study participants, 7 individuals were seropositive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) before the first confirmed cases in Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi were detected.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is presumptively originated in October–November 2019 in China, since symptom onset of the first identified patient occurred on 1 December 2019 [2]. Nevertheless, American and European data suggest earlier, undetected, and relatively sustained SARS-CoV-2 circulation.
Indeed, in May 2019, in England, 3 of 101 blood donors (2.97%) had high levels of SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive immunoglobulin (Ig) G (2 also had high IgA and IgM levels suggesting recent infection), which did not react with other coronaviruses [3].
In __November 2019, in France)), 42 of 2218 individuals (1.89%) from a healthy cohort had high SARS-CoV-2 S1-reactive IgG levels [4].
In Italy, 1 of 45 blood donors (2.22%) had high levels of IgG/IgM against the nucleocapsid protein in December 2019 [5], while 23 of 162 individuals (14.20%) from a healthy cohort had detectable anti–receptor-binding domain IgG/IgM in September 2019 [6].
In December 2019, in California, Oregon and Washington, 39 of 1912 blood donors (2.04%) had high S-reactive panimmunoglobulin levels [7]. Importantly, the specificity of antibody tests used in these studies was very high.

In 2 children, 1 of 14 from France (7.14%) [8] and 1 of 39 from Italy (2.56%) [9], oropharyngeal swab samples collected in December 2019 were retrospectively analyzed with reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Remarkably, the French child’s family did not leave France and had no contacts with Chinese or diseased individuals. In stored sewage samples from wastewater treatment plants, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected by means of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, starting from November 2019 in Brazil (3.1 × 105 genome copies/L) [10], December 2019 in Italy (0.1–4.9 × 104 genome copies/L) [11], and May 2019 in Spain (6.4–8.3 × 102 genome copies/L) [12].

The distribution of COVID-19 mortality rates across European countries in May 2020 was correlated with the distribution of influenza mortality rates in the years 2016–2019, suggesting that in spring 2020 SARS-CoV-2 circulation in Europe was already as sustained as the endemic influenza virus in previous years [13]. As correctly reported by Althoff and colleagues [1], their data corroborate the infectious disease epidemiology principle of pathogen circulation before the recognized outbreak.

In addition, the present data suggest the hypothesis that in 2019, SARS-CoV-2 circulation was already relatively sustained in Europe and America. This eventuality is not astonishing, as SARS-CoV-2 is mainly a respiratory pathogen that induces pneumonia. Each year, 7 million hospitalizations due to community-acquired pneumonia occur among older adults—more than 3 million in industrialized countries. The case-fatality rate of these events is >10%, and 20% in persons older than 85 years [14]. In more than half of these episodes, the causative organism is unknown. Therefore, each year 3–4 million community-acquired pneumonia–related hospitalizations with unknown causative agent occur [15].

In conclusion, a novel unknown respiratory virus that is responsible for severe pneumonia, like SARS-CoV-2, could circulate undetected for months or years, be responsible for many deaths, and even become pandemic, until peculiar characteristics of the disease are noticed that allow its identification.
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COVID found in blood taken July 2019 - Dec 2022

Molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in samples collected from patients with morbilliform eruptions since late 2019 in Lombardy, northern Italy
Environmental Research Volume 215, Part 1, December 2022, 113979 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2022.113979

As a reference laboratory for measles and rubella surveillance in Lombardy, we evaluated the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and measles-like syndromes, providing preliminary evidence for undetected early circulation of SARS-CoV-2. Overall, 435 samples from 156 cases were investigated. RNA from oropharyngeal swabs (N = 148) and urine (N = 141) was screened with four hemi-nested PCRs and molecular evidence for SARS-CoV-2 infection was found in 13 subjects. Two of the positive patients were from the pandemic period (2/12, 16.7%, March 2020–March 2021) and 11 were from the pre-pandemic period (11/44, 25%, August 2019–February 2020). Sera (N = 146) were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgM, and IgA antibodies. Five of the RNA-positive individuals also had detectable anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. No strong evidence of infection was found in samples collected between August 2018 and July 2019 from 100 patients.
The earliest sample with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was from September 12, 2019, and the positive patient was also positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (IgG and IgM). Mutations typical of B.1 strains previously reported to have emerged in January 2020 (C3037T, C14408T, and A23403G), were identified in samples collected as early as October 2019 in Lombardy. One of these mutations (C14408T) was also identified among sequences downloaded from public databases that were obtained by others from samples collected in Brazil in November 2019.
We conclude that a SARS-CoV-2 progenitor capable of producing a measles-like syndrome may have emerged in late June-late July 2019 and that viruses with mutations characterizing B.1 strain may have been spreading globally before the first Wuhan outbreak. Our findings should be complemented by high-throughput sequencing to obtain additional sequence information. We highlight the importance of retrospective surveillance studies in understanding the early dynamics of COVID-19 spread and we encourage other groups to perform retrospective investigations to seek confirmatory proofs of early SARS-CoV-2 circulation.
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Does Preexisting Immunity Mean that SARS-CoV-2 Has Already Been with Us? - Oct 2022

TrialSite News - a portion of which is the following substack
Making the case that COVID-19 virus was NEVER ever 'novel' or new, it was circulating for many years... Dr. Paul Elias Alexander's substack
Possible Sources of Cross-Reactive Immunity

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