According to a new report, there was a dramatic increase in PCR test orders in China during the second half of 2019, prior to the first reported case of COVID-19.
The study, conducted by Internet 2.0, concludes that based on the data analyzed, the virus was likely to be spreading in Wuhan, China as early as the summer of 2019 and most definitely by early fall of 2019.
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The study also identified significant and abnormal purchases of PCR equipment in Wuhan by the People’s Liberation Army Airborne Army Hospital in May of 2019, the Wuhan Institute of Virology in November of 2019, the Wuhan University of Science and Technology in October of 2019 and the Hubei Province Districts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from May until December of 2019.
In all, the total PCR procurement purchase price increased from 2015 to 2018, until a dramatic increase was identified in 2019: 10.1 million Yuan in 2015, 19.1 million Yuan in 2016, 29.1 million Yuan in 2017, 36.7 million Yuan in 2018 and a whopping 67.4 million Yuan in 2019.
Additionally, the total count of PCR procurement contracts year over year also saw similar increases: 52 contracts in 2015, 53 in 2016, 72 in 2017, 89 in 2018 and 135 in 2019. The Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan CDC, Hubei CDC and the Institute of Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine combined were the primary purchasers that drove the overall increase from 2018 to 2019.
“These findings challenge existing assumptions around when the pandemic began and support further investigation,” the study reads. “The study concludes that a significant increase in spending in PCR equipment correlates to the spread of COVID-19.”
“We assess with medium confidence the significant increase from 2018 to 2019 in Hubei province is due to an event like the emergence of COVID-19,” it continues. “We assess with high confidence that the pandemic began much earlier than China informed the WHO about COVID-19.”