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Metafer and XRNA Probes Reveal Incidence for Italy's Covid-19 Patient Zero

Jan 14, 2021

Researchers led by dermatologist Raffaele Gianotti of the University of Milan and pathologist Prof. Massimo Barberis, director of the Molecular Pathology Unit at Institute of European Oncology in Milan, report evidence of early SARS-CoV-2 infection in an Italian patient. Their findings were recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology. The evidence was obtained using the XRNA SARS-CoV-2 FISH probe and Metafer as the analysis system.

In a sample cut from the skin of a then 25-year-old Italian woman in November 2019, the team of scientists found traces of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Gianotti and his colleagues then also tested older samples for the virus using the RNA FISH method and obtained positive results.

Gianotti et al. interpret their results as the oldest evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Italy to date. The Italian television station RAI published a report on this topic in which Viviana Stufano, biotechnologist at the Istituto Europeo di Oncologia in Milano, Italy, explains the results on the Metafer screen.

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