Coronavirus was in Italy already in December, sewage study shows

Coronavirus was in Italy already in December, sewage study shows

Scientists from Italy have discovered traces of a new coronavirus in samples of wastewater, taken in Milan and Turin in December 2019, which indicates the circulation COVID-19 in the North of Italy before China reported its first cases of the disease.

The virus was found in samples of sewage water in Milan and Turin, the institute said in a new report.

The Italian National Institute of Health looked at 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between October 2019 and February 2020.

La Rosa, who led the study, said that researchers compared these 40 samples to 24 control samples collected between September 2018 and June 2019.

The results, confirmed in two different laboratories by two different methods, showed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in samples taken in Milan and Turin on December 18, 2019 and in Bologna on January 29, 2020.

According to a study conducted in may French scientists, one of the inhabitants of the country had been infected by COVID-19 27 Dec, nearly a month before France confirmed the first cases.

Chinese scientists have said the virus likely emerged in a market that sold wildlife in the central city of Wuhan in December, but Beijing officials have recently suggested that it may have originated elsewhere.

"That COVID-19 could have been circulating in Italy is possible", explained Rowland Kao, a veterinary epidemiology and information science professor at Scotland's Edinburgh University.

The agency said 3.017 million people in the country of 60 million had been tested for the virus, up from 2.987 million on Friday.

Samples from October and November 2019 were negative, showing the virus had yet to arrive, La Rosa said. The town became the first "red zone" in the country, followed by nine in both Lombardy and the neighboring Veneto region.

Noel McCarthy, from Warwick Medical School, Britain, said that this study and its results are "reliable evidence of cases of COVID-19 being present there at that time".

This study is the first that shows the presence of the virus even before it appeared in the news, and even before the first case was identified in China.

The institute states it aims to start a pilot venture monitoring squander water at vacationer resorts in July with a perspective to location up a nationwide squander drinking water monitoring network afterwards this calendar year.

If Italy records this momentous change, can it mean that other countries may record different Coronavirus findings too?

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