Waste water study finds Covid-19 present in Italy in December

The coronavirus was already present in two large cities in northern Italy in December, over two months before the first case was detected, a national health institute study of waste water has found.

Researchers discovered genetic traces of Sars-CoV-2 – as the virus is officially known – in samples of waste water collected in Milan and Turin at the end of last year, and Bologna in January, the ISS institute said in a statement.

Italy’s first known native case was discovered mid-February.

The results “help to understand the start of the circulation of the virus in Italy,” the ISS said.

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