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Interviewer: Professor Andrea Crisanti, thank you very much
for taking the time to do this interview with us today,
to discuss your recent findings which emerged from
your study of viral transmission over a period of
time within the Italian municipality of Vo at the start of the pandemic last year.
First of all, could you provide us with some background to
the research you published in the journal, Nature,
presenting new insights into the incidence of
asymptomatic infections within the local COVID outbreak.
What was the initial rationale for the research?
Prof. Crisanti: Well, first of all,
I have to say that,
while I was traveling to Australia,
I heard the news that we had a case of COVID in Veneto.
This is one of the administrative districts of Italy,
many of you may be familiar because it's the place where Venice is.
The news was that,
not only that person was infected,
but soon emerged that many other people were infected.
What happened, the Italian government and the local authority imposed a lock
down on the city where this person was coming from.
At the same time,
the regional authority took an unprecedent decision.
They decided that everybody in the community had to be tested with
the pharyngeal swab to search for infected individuals, thereby,
creating a unique epidemiological situation
because never has happened that at the beginning of an epidemic,
an entire village was sealed,
so nobody could come out and nobody could come in.
So without any confounding factor, everybody was tested.