Brazil may never find out when the first patient infected with the novel coronavirus arrived in the country, a report by the BBC suggests. Experts list the absence of public health guidelines by the government before the first confirmed case, the large number of asymptomatic patients and the disease’s similarities with other respiratory problems as the main reasons for this.
There are two main ways to track the virus’s path, according to health officials. One of them is the genome sequencing, which Brazilian scientists managed to do in record time. The other includes testing antibodies to find out whether patients have been infected before — a technology yet to arrive in Brazil.
As of now, Brazil’s patient zero remains a 61-year-old businessman from São Paulo who tested positive after traveling from Italy on February 25. After a glitch in the Health Ministry tracking system indicated that the first Covid-19-related death in Brazil could have happened as early as January, the government corrected the information and stuck to its original patient zero claims.