A team of scientists in Milan believes Italy’s COVID-19 epidemic might have come to the country via nearby Germany and not directly from China as many experts initially assumed.
Scientists have been hunting for the so-called “patient zero” ever since the novel coronavirus contagion first came to light in the prosperous northern region of Lombardy on February 21.
They have not yet identified the individual at the root of the worst outbreak in Europe, but they have matched the Italian genetic sequencing of the virus to a case that emerged in Germany in January. The German patient caught the virus after contacting someone who came from Shanghai.
Doctors initially believed the first Italian patient, a 38-year-old man named Mattia, had been infected by a colleague who had recently returned from a business trip in China. However, that man tested negative, meaning the hunt was on for the origin of the contagion in Italy.