Coronaviruses reported to have been detected in wastewater samples since March 2019

An unpublished study by Spanish virologists suggests that the new coronavirus has been around for much longer than we thought.

According to Reuters, researchers from the University of Barcelona announced on Friday that they had detected COVID-19 in sewage samples collected in March 2019, approximately nine months before the disease was first reported in Wuhan, China. The team of researchers said they began analyzing frozen wastewater samples taken between January 2018 and December 2019. All samples reportedly tested negative for traces of coronavirus, except for the sample from March 12, 2019. No However, research leader Albert Bosch emphasized that SARS-CoV-2 levels were low.

“Barcelona receives many visitors for tourist and professional reasons,” said Bosch. “A similar situation may have occurred in other parts of the world, and since most cases of COVID-19 show flu-like symptoms, those cases could have been disguised as flu.”

The study has since been submitted for peer review, but independent experts say more evidence and data are needed before the findings can be confirmed. Some have also pointed out the possibility of a false positive.

“When it comes to a single result, you always want more data, more studies, more samples to confirm it and rule out a laboratory error or a methodological problem,” said Dr. Joan Ramon Villalbi, member of the board of the Spanish Society. Public Health. and Health Administration. “It’s definitely interesting, it’s suggestive.”

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