Coronavirus Reportedly Detected in Wastewater Samples From March 2019

Earliest known novel coronavirus detected in Barcelona

Although Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, researchers proved there are large quantities of the coronavirus genome in the excrements that reach waste waters.

In what could alter the entire debate on the origin of novel coronavirus that has infected over 10 million people worldwide, researchers from University of Barcelona have claimed that SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 disease was detected in samples of waste water in the Spanish city way back in March past year.

The researchers deducted that the herpes virus could have spread around the world much earlier than initially thought.

Since April 13 this year, the researchers have analyzed weekly the samples obtained from Barcelona's two major water treatment plants, and after seeing a strong correlation between the presence of coronavirus in waste water and the number of cases in the population, they chose to go further. While the study published in the medRxiv repository is not peer-reviewed up to now, the revelation was extensively covered by the Spanish media, such as the El Mundo daily.

This led to the discovery of the traces of virus from the sample collected on March 12, 2019.

Dr Joan Ramon Villalbi, from the Spanish Society for Public Health and Sanitary Administration, told Reuters it was still early to draw definitive conclusions.

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Ned Lamont all recently issued quarantine orders for travelers from states that have seen recent spikes in coronavirus cases. New York, at one time the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus, has more than 397,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Conducted by the University of Barcelona (UB), the research would indicate that the infection was present 'long before any case of Covid-19 was reported in the world, ' according to experts from that academic institution. However, research leader Albert Bosch emphasized that the levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low.

Researchers say that detecting the virus even just one month before it was officially discovered could have vastly improved the response to the pandemic.

Instead, patients were probably misdiagnosed with common flu, contributing to community transmission before measures were taken.

Professor Gertjan Medema, from the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands, whose team began using a coronavirus test on waste water in February suggested the Barcelona group needed to repeat the tests to confirm it was really the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Spain has recorded more than 28,000 confirmed deaths and almost 250,000 cases of the virus so far.

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