The story that Spanish scientists may have found a sample of SARS-CoV-2 in a sample of wastewater from March 2019 is awesome indeed, if it is confirmed. It’s breaking across the mainstreams, but in case you missed it, here goes.*
Following the new trend to look for the virus in sewage and wastewater, a Spanish team from the University Of Barcelona decided to start looking through samples from the city’s sewage system. Quite soon they found a sample dated 15th January 2020 that was positive for SARS-CoV-2, a full 41 days before the the first reported case in the city. It was what happened next that changed everything we know, potentially. Albert Bosch and his teams started to check out samples from as far back as January 2018. And they found one from 12th March 2019 which was positive, Nine full months before the first reports from Wuhan in China.
Now we know that readers of LSS like their stories as scrupulous as we can make ’em. And as good scientists, we know a few things have got to happen before we can draw really firm conclusions. Firstly, there has to be a peer review, the benchmark of real science. But the sooner the better, we say. And a one off result is never, on its own, enough for science. You have to find another one of anything. What about Madrid, Sevilla and Zaragoza? It would be nice to see a precise map of the virus in their sample, to get some ideas on its evolution and development in the last eighteen months or so.
All that said, hats off to the Barcelona team for their supreme demonstration of the virtues of curiosity, open-mindedness and solid devotion to technique. Those are the values that will one day pull us through.
Our Thanks to Mr Gary Herbert of Buckinghamshire for first alerting us to this story.
#reuters #universityof barcelona #covid19 #coronavirus #sarscov2