The earliest person to contract coronavirus within the UK has been identified, scientists believe.
Analysis of samples by the University of Nottingham showed a 75-year-old woman, from Nottinghamshire, tested positive on 21 February.
A Surrey resident was previously believed to have caught the virus first.
The woman is also understood to be first in the UK to die after contracting Covid-19.
News of the case has emerged only now, because samples were being analysed in retrospect by researchers as they investigated the origins of the UK pandemic.
A total of 2,000 routine respiratory samples taken from patients at a Nottingham teaching hospital between January and March were tested.
The report states: “Patient 1 in this study is, to the best of our knowledge, the earliest described community-acquired case of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK, admitted to hospital care on the 21st of February 2020, and was also the first UK COVID-19 death, preceding the earliest known death by 2 days.”
The work also revealed that early coronavirus cases in the UK would have been identified if testing criteria had at the time been less strict, say the scientists.