ICAN, through its attorneys, submitted three FOIA requests in response to a published study conducted by NIH showing that SARS-CoV-2 infections were occurring weeks prior to previously recognized cases in at least 5 U.S. states.
On June 15, 2021, a National Institutes of Health study titled Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in All of Us Research Program Participants, January 2 – March 18, 2020 was published. This new antibody testing study examined blood samples originally collected through the National Institutes of Health. It found evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections in five states earlier than had initially been reported. These results are consistent with and expand on findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that suggested SARS-CoV-2 was present in the U.S. as far back as December 2019.
In the new NIH study, researchers analyzed more than 24,000 stored blood samples from participants in all 50 states between January 2, 2020 and March 18, 2020. Researchers detected IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in nine of the samples. These antibodies do not appear until about two weeks after a person has been infected. Most surprising is that these participants were not from major urban hotspots, such as Seattle and New York, but from Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The positive samples came as early as January 7, 2020, which suggests that the virus was present at least two weeks earlier, or in late December 2019, across the country. This is significantly earlier than the CDC’s reported January 21, 2020 date for the “first person in the United States with diagnosed 2019-nCoV infection” and far earlier than the first reported cases in those states.
ICAN submitted three FOIA requests seeking emails and additional information about the study and its findings. The responses to those requests will be shared once they are received.