Study Suggests Possible New COVID-19 Timeline in the U.S.
December 01, 2020
The following statement regarding the publication of “Serologic testing of U.S. blood donations to identify SARS-CoV-2-reactive antibodies: December 2019-January 2020,” in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal may be attributed to Dr. Susan Stramer, vice president of Scientific Affairs at the American Red Cross:
“The American Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and has played a critical role in helping to battle the coronavirus pandemic, as well as other public health emergencies through the decades.
A study by the American Red Cross and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), entitled “Serologic testing of U.S. blood donations to identify SARS-CoV-2 reactive antibodies: December 2019-January 2020,” was recently published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. This study aimed to determine when the virus might have first appeared in the United States by using archived samples from routine blood donations collected by the Red Cross. The non-identifiable blood samples used in the study—from donors in nine states between Dec. 13, 2019 and Jan. 17, 2020—demonstrate one way that blood donation helps scientific research.
In the U.S., the first COVID-19 infection was reported on January 19, 2020 in a traveler returning from China. These study results show that it’s possible COVID-19 may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized.