ROME

As Italy’s death toll from the novel coronavirus neared 14,000 — the highest in the world — a small town in the worst-hit Lombardy region has surprisingly registered zero infections. 

Ferrera Erbognone, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the financial hub of Milan, has just over 1,000 inhabitants, but has attracted the attention of a group of researchers at the Mondino Institute of Pavia. They will conduct blood tests to see if there is a scientific explanation for their “resistance” to COVID-19.

A tentative hypothesis suggests that the locals have developed antibodies able to resist the virus, which could

Read more: Italy's tiny town, spared by virus, attracts scientists