The corona virus may have arrived in Europe in November last year, French scientists have announced.
Dr. Michel Schmitt of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Colmar in north-eastern France and his research team examined thousands of chest X-rays from the end of 2019 and were able to identify two scans that “matched” the symptoms of Covid-19.
The scans, which were identified between November 16 and 18, now shed new light on the time when the coronavirus crisis hit Europe for the first time as scientists continued their search for "patient zero".
The scans received from NBC News were among almost 2,500 X-rays that Mr. Schmitt's team analyzed and showed that the virus was in the country before its first reported case on January 24th.
The team of scientists found that the first case of the coronavirus was November 16 before it was officially reported in France. Pictured: The breast scan of a patient with coronavirus
The pulmonologist and global health professional at the University of Washington, Dr. Vin Gupta, who analyzed the X-rays, told NBC News: “This fits a pattern that we see with the coronavirus – especially early coronavirus infection, where some abnormalities occur in parts of the lungs but not everywhere. & # 39;
The team of Dr. Schmitt also identified 12 cases of coronavirus in December and 16 in January.
However, the scientist said that no conclusions could be drawn yet, and that his team would now examine X-rays from October to find out the spread of the virus.
He told NBC News: “We can only manage the future if we understand the past. Today we clearly do not understand this outbreak. & # 39;
He added, "This could completely change the government's management strategy."
The team's results come only a few weeks after the French doctor Dr. Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at several hospitals in Ile-de-France, Paris, announced that he had found a positive test for coronavirus on December 27.
The team of Dr. Cohen, who had retested old flu samples, said the new patient sample test confirmed that the virus was in France before it was officially reported.
His team again tested negative coronavirus and flu tests for 24 patients hospitalized in December and January with respiratory symptoms, he told French broadcaster BFMTV.
The research team at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital analyzed almost 2,500 X-rays
The hospital is located in the city of Colmar in the Grand Est region in north-eastern France
A man who is now in good health has been identified as infected with coronavirus, but Dr. Cohen said the man was "surprised" because he didn't understand how he was infected.
He told BFMTV: "Of the 24 patients, we had a positive result for Covid-19 on December 27 when he was in the hospital with us."
Dr. However, Cohen added that it was too early to know whether the patient was France's “patient zero”.
He added, "He was amazed, he didn't understand how he got infected. We put the puzzle together and he didn't travel. The only contact he had was with his wife."
In February, five Britons in the mountain village of Contamines-Montjoie near the Mont Blanc were diagnosed with coronavirus after receiving the virus from a Brighton man who lived in the same resort.
This middle-aged patient had flown to the ski resort from Singapore, but only showed symptoms of the contagious virus when he returned to the UK, where he was the third coronavirus patient to be quarantined on British soil.
Six other British nationals who had come into close contact with them at the resort were also taken to a hospital in Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble.
Pictured: The mountain village of Les Contamines in the French Alps, where five Britons were diagnosed with the virus in February
The new evidence comes as France begins to lift its restrictions and slowly begins to reopen its schools.
People are allowed to travel within 100 km (60 miles) of their homes without providing a reason for their movement.
Earlier this month, Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell announced that the country probably did so Coronavirus cases occurred last November.
He told the Swedish news agency TT: “Outside of Wuhan there was no spread (of infections) until we later saw them in Europe.
“But I think you could find isolated cases among Wuhan travelers who were there from November to December last year. That doesn't sound strange at all, but very natural. & # 39;
Sweden – one of only a handful of countries opposed to blocking – has no plans to conduct large-scale sample tests on patients who have been treated for respiratory problems or flu in the past year to determine whether they have coronavirus.
The country's first official coronavirus case was a woman in Jonkoping who tested positive on January 31 after traveling to China. The woman has since recovered from the illness.
The first case of the virus in Wuhan, China, was brought to the attention of the Wold Health Organization (WHO) on December 31.
The country reported Several cases of unusual pneumonia and, according to the authorities, some of the patients were dealers or sellers in the Huanan Seafood market.
On January 13, the WHO confirmed the first case outside of China in Thailand.
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