In a worrying discovery, Spanish scientists have found traces of the coronavirus in water sewage samples taken from Barcelona dating back to March last year.
According to scientists, this suggests that the novel virus that triggered the current pandemic emerged from China much earlier than the Chinese Community Party had previously admitted.
After the Covid-19 outbreak reached Europe, scientists at the University of Barcelona began conducting research on wastewater to possibly identify new outbreaks. They also decided to test old water samples, those collected between January 2018 and December 2019. Only a sample from March 2019 tested positive for Covid-19.
“The levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive,” research leader Albert Bosch said.
Bosch went on to explain, “Barcelona is a city that is frequented by Chinese people, in tourism and business, so probably this happened also elsewhere, and probably at the same time.”
Regarding the virus being found in a single sample from March 2019, Bosch said that it makes sense because “respiratory viruses usually have peaks around this time of the year.”
Dr Joan Ramon Villalbi of the Spanish Society for Public Health and Sanitary Administration said the research is “definitely interesting, it’s suggestive.”
The virus was found in sewage samples all over Europe
Over in Italy, Italian scientists have also said they found Covid-19 genetic material present in sewage months before the virus turned northern Italy into the global Covid-19 hotspot.
Tests at wastewater treatment plants in France have also revealed levels of Covid-19, the report was supported by the Pulitzer Centre.
Scientists say they found the virus, which causes Covid-19, in a Dutch city’s wastewater before the first confirmed case in the city.
China claims they only became aware of the virus in late December 2019.