Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 has reached almost each and every country in the world since its first case reported in late December in Wuhan, China.
In recent findings a French hospital has reported that after retesting the old samples of some pneumonia patients they have discovered that the hospital has tested a man with the COVID-19 as early as December 27th, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first case.
Dr. Yves Cohen, head of the resuscitation at the Avicenne and Jean Verdier hospitals in the northern suburbs of Paris, told BFM TV that scientists had retested samples from 24 patients that were treated in December and January and tested negative for flu.
“Of the 24, we had one who was positive for COVID-19 on 27 December,” he told the news channel on Sunday.
All samples were collected initially to detect signs of flu using the PCR testing method, the same genetic screening method that can also be used to detect the presence of all other noted coronaviruses. Each sample was retested several times to ensure that there were no errors, he added.
As of March 5th, France has reported more than 169,000 cases and over 25,000 people have died with the virus. However, the country confirmed its first three COVID-19 cases on 24 January, including two patients in Paris and another in the south-western city of Bordeaux.
To understand the virus spread each and every country is trying to find the ‘patient zero’ but Dr. Cohen says that it’s too early to say whether this patient is the ‘patient zero’. He also added that the patient had survived and that a fresh investigation to trace the first contamination had been carried out.
“He was sick for 15 days and infected his two children, but not his wife, who works in a supermarket,” he said.
“He was amazed. He didn’t understand how he had been infected. We put the puzzle together and he had not made any trips. The only contact that he had was with his wife.”
In the investigation it was found that the man’s wife worked alongside a sushi stand, close to colleagues of Chinese origin, Dr. Cohen said. It was not clear whether those colleagues had traveled to China, and the local health authority should investigate, he added.
“We’re wondering whether she was asymptomatic,” he said. “He may be the ‘patient zero’, but perhaps there are others in other regions. All the negative PCRs for pneumonia must be tested again. The virus was probably circulating.”
There is more to understand about this case so we will timely update this post.