Published on Mon Jul 19 2021

Timeline of SARS-CoV2 spread in Italy: results from an independent serological retesting

Montomoli, E., Apolone, G., Manenti, A., Boeri, M., Suatoni, P., Sabia, F., Marchiano, A., Bollati, V., Pastorino, U., Sozzi, G.

The massive emergence of COVID19 cases in the first phase of pandemic suggest that an undetected earlier circulation of SARS-CoV-2 might have occurred. Given the importance of this evidence, an independent evaluation was recommended.

2
0
2
Abstract

The massive emergence of COVID19 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, as documented by several papers in different countries, including a few that reported positive cases even earlier the first cases identified in Wuhan. Given the importance of this evidence, an independent evaluation was recommended. Here we report the results of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies blind retesting of blood samples collected in the prepandemic period in Italy, and in control samples collected one year before, by two independent centers. Results suggest the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in some samples collected in the prepandemic period, though the detection of IgM and/or IgG binding and neutralizing antibodies is strongly dependent on the different serological assays and thresholds employed, while being absent in control samples collected one year before. These findings highlight the importance of harmonizing serological assays for testing SARS-CoV-2 virus spreading and may contribute to a better understanding the future virus dynamics.