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Milan Cancer Institute (INT) in Italy on Friday confirmed to China Media Group that the World Health Organization (WHO) has requested it to re-check blood samples collected in 2019 that were reported to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

INT authorities said no further details will be provided for now, and a press release will be issued on the matter in the next few days.

The confirmation came after a Reuters report on Tuesday said the WHO has asked the Italian research to re-test the blood samples in an independent laboratory, which might have suggested the coronavirus was circulating outside China by October 2019.

The Italian researchers' findings, published by the INT's scientific magazine Tumori Journal last November, showed neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in blood taken from healthy volunteers in Italy in October 2019 during a lung cancer screening trial.

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