The coronavirus could have been in a “dormant” state MONTH before the pandemic | Science | News


A recent study from the University of Barcelona suggested that traces of Covid-19 had been found in wastewater samples as early as March 2019.Tom Jefferson, honorary senior researcher at the Center for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, suggested that the coronavirus could have been lying “dormant”.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “We can see a dormant virus that has been activated by environmental conditions. “Professor Jefferson referred to a case that had been detected in the Falkland Islands in early February of this year, and another in which a cruise ship filled with people who had originally been screened for the virus had experienced an epidemic in mid-term.

He said: “The explanation for this could only be the fact that these agents neither come nor go anywhere. They’re still there and something is igniting them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and that’s what we should be looking for. ”

Melita Vujnovic, the representative of the World Health Organization in Russia, told the RIA Novosti news agency that she could “not exclude” the theory of COVID-19 that existed before the outbreak of the pandemic.

“WHO has set up a large team that will work with Chinese scientists to analyze the origin of the virus.

“This virus lived in animals and at one point passed to humans. It is difficult to say when and where it happened. He is under investigation. Viruses can be detected in wastewater. But nothing can be said specifically. ”

From a different perspective, James Wood, head of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, said that the idea that the virus was dormant was “weak.”

Instead, he claimed that COVID-19 had been present in animals before humans, but that it was a while before it could spread.

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The study says, “This striking discovery indicates the circulation of the virus in Barcelona long before any case of COVID-19 has been reported worldwide.

“Barcelona is a business and trade center, as well as a popular place for large-scale events, bringing together visitors from many parts of the world.

“It is nevertheless likely that similar situations have occurred in several other parts of the world, with the circulation of cases of COVID-19 unnoticed in the community.”

But some observers have questioned whether what they detected was really coronavirus.

A user of the medical journal MedRxiv website doubted that the genes of the detected virus – called “E” and “N” in the study – really correspond to those of COVID-19.

They wrote: “The authors do not detect SARS-CoV-2 in samples from March 2019. They rather detect IP2 / IP4 resembling SARS-CoV-2. Whatever the virus, it does not have the E and N1 / N2 of SARS-CoV-2. ”

Other observers claim that the test samples may have been accidentally contaminated with traces of existing COVID-19 during handling in the laboratory.


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