Traces of Covid-19 found in Milan and Turin sewage last December

A STUDY has detected genetic material of the novel coronavirus in sewage samples from the Italian cities of Milan and Turin collected last December. 

The Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy’s National Institute of Health, announced on Thursday that their study identified traces of Covid-19 in wastewater in northern Italy almost two months before the first positive cases of coronavirus were identified. 

The study took 40 samples from October 2019 to February 2020 as well as 24 samples from September 2018 to June 2019 as a control in order to test for the virus in the wastewater.  

“The results, confirmed by two different methods in two different laboratories, indicate the presence of SARS-COV-2 RNA in samples taken in Milan and Turin on December 18, 2019 and in Bologna on January, 29, 2020,” said Giuseppina La Rosa from the Department of Environment and Health at the Italian National Health Institute.

The researchers behind the study note that testing and monitoring sewage could be used around the world to help trace the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and reduce the pressure to carry out mass-testing. 

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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