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Coronavirus

Boston Meeting Linked to as Many as 300,000 COVID-19 Cases

December 11, 2020

BOSTON — A study published by the journal Science says as many as 300,000 COVID-19 cases around the world can be traced to a two-day biotech meeting at a hotel in downtown Boston last February.

The study published Thursday says the meeting of Biogen managers resulted in 100 people returning home with the coronavirus who spread it to 29 states and Australia, Slovakia and Sweden.

The study estimates the conference is responsible for about 1.6% of all cases in the United States. It tracked the unique genetic signatures of the virus that could be traced to the Boston event.

The lead author was Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, but more than 50 researchers were credited.

“If there is a public health message here, it is that the conditions that enable these types of massive super-spreading events to occur are still with us,” Lemieux told The Boston Globe.

Biogen says in a statement it hoped the study would “continue to drive a better understanding of the transmission of this virus and efforts to address it.”

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