(rt.com), 29 April 2020 - The outbreak of the coronavirus in France has little to do with cases imported from China or Italy, as another strain of the disease of unknown origin had already been infecting people in the country, research claims.
The virologists at the Pasteur Institute in Paris have sequenced the genomes from samples taken from 97 French and three Algerian coronavirus patients between January 24 and March 24.
What they found is that the dominant types of Covid-19 viral strains in France differed from those that arrived from China or Italy, and belonged to another group, or ‘clade.’
The earliest sample in the French clade dated from February 19 and came from an infected person who hadn’t travelled abroad recently and had no contacts with possible carriers of the disease.
“We can infer that the virus was silently circulating in France in February” prior to the wave of Covid-19 cases in the country, the virologists said in a paper, published on bioRxiv website but not yet peer-reviewed.