Empire Diaries Desk
June 28, 2020: In a development that could drastically change the timeline of the coronavirus pandemic, virologists from the University of Barcelona have discovered that the Covid-19 virus was present in Barcelona’s sewage way back in March 2019 – nine months before it is known to have been first detected in Wuhan, China.
A study was conducted by a team from the University of Barcelona and published on its official website. The researchers studied sewage or waste water samples from Barcelona since January 2018 and detected the presence of the coronavirus in the city’s sewage samples from March 12, 2019.
The study currently awaits peer review by the international scientific community, and has been sent to a journal and published only as pre-print in medRxiv.
The WHO’s (World Health Organization) internationally accepted timeline says the virus officially first emerged from a popular animal market in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province, in December-end 2019.
According to wire news service Reuters, which has also reported on the Spanish study, the University of Barcelona team had first been closely testing sewage waste in Barcelona since the middle of April this year, and later decided to also carry out tests on much older samples.
Announcing the findings on its official website, the University of Barcelona wrote, “Researchers detected the presence of the virus that caused the disease in samples of waste water in Barcelona, collected in March 12, 2019. These results, sent to a high impact journal and published [only as pre-print and yet to be peer-reviewed] in the archive medRxiv, suggest the infection was present before knowing about any case of Covid-19 in any part of the world.”
Albert Bosch, one of the researchers and president of the Spanish Society of Virology, was quoted by the university’s online statement as saying, “All samples were negatives regarding the SARS-CoV-2 genome presence except for March 12, 2019, in which the levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive, using two different targets. Barcelona receives many visitors for both tourist and professional reasons, and it is possible for a similar situation to have taken place in other parts of the world, and since most of the Covid-19 cases show a similar symptomatology to the flu, those cases could have been disguised as an undiagnosed flu.”
As of now, Spain’s first official Covid-19 case was reported in La Gomera, part of the Canary Islands, on January 31, 2020. According to global coronavirus monitor Worldometer, Spain has so far reported more than 295,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 28,000 Covid-19 deaths.
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