Summer 2020

When did COVID-19 arrive?

Mark R. Schleiss, American Legion and Auxiliary Heart Research Foundation Chair of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in the U of M Medical School, suspects COVID-19 may have been in Minnesota months before the first case was confirmed March 6.

Since 2017, he’s collected infant saliva samples for his research on a common virus called cytomegalovirus. He’s looking at those gathered since October 2019 for COVID-19 RNA. “If we find it, it will indicate transmission from mother to baby in the womb or during delivery,” he says.

Schleiss received a donor-supported CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation and Discovery) grant for this work.