Biological traces of SARS-CoV-2 virus appeared in wastewater in Milan city from December 18, 1919, before the first case of COVID-19 was detected in this locality.
Italian scientists publish a new study proving that the outbreak of COVID-19 has appeared in the country since late 2019, RT reported.
On June 18, scientists from the Italian National Institutes of Health (ISS) published a report on wastewater monitoring in a number of cities in the northern part of the country, showing biological traces of the SARS-CoV virus. -2 (cause of COVID-19 epidemic) has occurred since mid-December 19-20.
Giuseppina La Rosa, an expert in the ISS water quality research department, said that the waste water samples collected in October and November 1919 did not contain the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, samples of water on 18-12-2019 in Milan (Lombardy) and Turin (Piedmont) and samples on 19-1-2020 in Bologna (Emilia-Romagna) gave positive results for SARS- CoV-2.
The scientists stated that water samples taken after these two times (locally respectively) contained biological traces of the COVID-19 pathogen.
The researchers noted that these results did not prove that Milan and Turin were the first outbreaks of disease in Italy.
ISS experts believe that it is possible to integrate the RNA test of SARS-CoV-2 virus into the wastewater monitoring activity to detect outbreaks. A pilot project will be launched from next month.
“Based on the results of the pilot studies, we hope to conduct follow up (waste water samples – PV) across the country next fall” – Ms. Lucia Bonadonna, Director of Environment Department and ISS disease prevention, says.
Wastewater sampling in these cities is a regular activity of the ISS, which has been running since 2007.
Earlier, at the end of March 2020, Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, Director of the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, said that a “strange pneumonia” appeared in Italy from December 12-20 or even is from 11-2019.
Mr. Remuzzi said that it is possible that COVID-19 had spread in Italy without anyone knowing and it was possible that the virus appeared before the outbreak of the disease in China.
However, Mr. Remuzzi’s statement faced skepticism and criticism of many, including the US government.
Washington accused the Italian expert of participating in China’s false reporting campaign to deny Beijing’s responsibility for the global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a number of cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province (China) – which is considered the first outbreak of the world – appeared to show symptoms of COVID- 19 from early December 2019.
On January 31, Italian authorities announced that two Chinese tourists in Rome (Lazio region) were the first cases of COVID-19 in the country. Earlier, these two tourists had come to Milan from January 23.
Italy was once the most serious outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, both in terms of the number of illnesses and deaths, but from mid-May to now, the situation has improved.
Up to 5 am 20-6 (Vietnam time), Italy has detected 238,011 cases of COVID-19 and 34,561 deaths, according to statistics site Worldometer.
In Europe, Italy is the country with the fourth highest number of cases (after Russia, Britain and Spain) and the second highest number of deaths (after the UK).
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 8,734,500 people and about 461,500 died.