Analysis printed immediately within the Journal of Basic Virology has recognized missed circumstances of SARS-CoV-2 by retrospective testing of throat swabs.
Researchers on the College of Nottingham screened 1,660 routine diagnostic specimens which had been collected at a Nottingham hospital between 2 January and 11 March 2020 and examined for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR. At this stage of the pandemic, there was little or no COVID-19 testing obtainable in hospitals, and to qualify sufferers needed to meet a strict criterion, together with latest journey to sure nations in Asia or contact with a recognized optimistic case.
Three beforehand unidentified circumstances of SARS-CoV-2 an infection have been recognized by the retrospective screening, together with one from a 75-year-old feminine whose optimistic swab was collected on 21 February 2020. This affected person, known as Affected person 1, died on 3 March; two days earlier than the primary official demise from COVID-19 was recorded within the UK. Affected person 1 had not lately travelled overseas or been in touch with anybody recognized to have COVID-19 and so didn’t qualify for a PCR take a look at on the time. Along with being the primary demise, the researchers imagine that Affected person 1 can be the earliest described case of group transmission within the UK.
The additional newly-identified circumstances occurred in a 64-year-old male and a 66-year-old male, each of whom confirmed indicators of chest infections, and each of whom recovered. The samples have been collected on 2 March and eight March 2020 respectively. Worldwide journey was solely eliminated as a necessary criterion for a SARS-CoV-2 take a look at on 12 March 2020.
The analysis group collaborated with the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 isolates collected from the swabs used within the research, and located proof of group transmission in Nottingham as early as February 2020. By way of this genome sequence knowledge, the group recognized a number of introductions of the virus into Nottingham throughout late February and the month of March, lots of which have been a definite lineage of the virus which dominated early phases of the outbreak inside the area.
Based mostly on the findings, the researchers recommend that testing ought to have been made obtainable to hospital sufferers with suitable signs however no journey historical past earlier within the pandemic response.