Coronavirus in Italy: new study confirms that it was in wastewater as early as December, three months before the lockdown
Now it’s official: many scholars talked about it, but now there is confirmation with evidence. The Coronavirus would arrive in Italy three months before the lockdown sanctioned by the Conte government. In fact, in the waste waters of Milan is turin there was a trace of Covid 19 already in December 2019. To reach this conclusion was a study, being published, by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, carried out by analyzing the waste water collected in earlier times compared to the first real case in Italy.
“Since 2007 with my group we carry out research in environmental virology and collect and analyze samples of waste water taken at the entrance of purification plants”, he claims Giuseppina La Rosa of the Department of Water Quality and Health of the Department of Environment and Health of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, who conducted the study in collaboration with Elisabetta Suffredini of the Department of Food Safety, Nutrition and Veterinary Public Health. “I study – goes on – it examined 40 wastewater samples collected from October 2019 to February 2020 and 24 control samples for which the withdrawal date (September 2018 – June 2019) allowed to safely exclude the presence of the virus. The results, confirmed in the two different laboratories with two different methods, showed the presence of SARS-Cov-2 RNA in the samples taken in Milan and Turin on 12/18/2019 and in Bologna on 01/29/2020. In the same cities, positive samples were also found in the following months of January and February 2020, while the samples of October and November 2019, as well as all the control samples, gave negative results “.
“Our results – evidence Luca Lucentini, director of the Water Quality and Health Department – confirm the evidence consolidated by now on an international level on the strategic function of monitoring the virus in samples taken regularly in the sewers and entering the treatment plants “. The finding of the virus does not automatically imply that the main transmission chains that led to the development of the epidemic in our country originated from these first cases but, in perspective, a surveillance network in the area can prove to be valuable for controlling the ‘epidemic”.
“We have presented a proposal for action to the Ministry of Health – underlines Lucia Bonadonna, director of the Department of Environment and Health of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità – for the launch of a surveillance network on SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and as early as next July we will start a pilot study on priority sites identified in tourist locations. Based on the results of the pilot study, we hope to be ready for surveillance throughout the country in the potentially most critical periods of next autumn “.