An investigation by the World Health Organization in China on the origins of the coronavirus found that there might have been coronavirus cases in China two months earlier than originally identified.
The four-week investigation showed there were over 90 people in central China who were hospitalized for coronavirus symptoms two months before Dec. 8, 2019, the day China says the first coronavirus patient was found, the Wall Street Journal reported.
WHO wants China to test blood samples from a wider population from the fall of 2019 to confirm their theory, but Chinese authorities said they aren’t allowed to test them yet, WHO investigators told WSJ.
China officials did do antibody testing on some of the 90 patients that were found to have coronavirus symptoms last fall, but there were no antibodies found in them. However, WHO investigators think they just waited too long to test them and the antibodies subsided, WSJ says.
It is unclear how long antibodies survive in the body for the coronavirus as there is debate on whether they last a couple of weeks or a couple of months.
Blood samples and medical records have been checked, but there has been no evidence that the virus appeared before December of 2019, Liang Wannian, head of the coronavirus panel for China’s National Health Commission, said Tuesday,
More studies and blood samples will be required in order to determine if the coronavirus was around before December of 2019.