The coronavirus was already in Spain a year before the pandemic “officially” broke out, according to a study by Barcelona University (UB) that has detected SARS-CoV-2 in samples of wastewater collected in the Catalan capital on 12 March 2019, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
The outcome of the UB research would prove that COVID-19 was circulating in Spain long before it was “officially” detected and recorded, according to UB sources.
The UB experts studied weekly samples obtained from two wastewater treatment plants in the regional capital of Catalonia, under the premise that there are large amounts of the coronavirus genome in faeces.
“The SARS-CoV-2 genome levels clearly coincided with the evolution of COVID-19 cases in the population,” explained the coordinator of the research, Albert Bosch.
However, having found the presence of viruses before cases were diagnosed shows, according to specialists, that many infected with COVID-19 could have been mistaken for influenza patients in primary health care services.
“Having detected the spread of SARS-CoV-2 a month in advance would have allowed a better response to the pandemic,” Bosch stressed. (Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)