A new study from the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil revealed that SARS-CoV-2 particles were found in human sewage at the end of November 2019, which might be the oldest sample of the COVID-19 in Latin America so far.
Brazil: Indigenous Leaders Denounce COVID-19 Risk From Military
The authors of the study published in the MedRxiv science journal analyzed human sewage located in Florianópolis from late October until the Brazil lockdown in early March.
The scientists detected SARS-CoV-2 in two samples collected independently on November 27, 2019. Subsequent samplings were positive until March 4, 2020, coinciding with the first COVID-19 case reported in Santa Catalina.
"Researchers explained the discovery of a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which were found in two-shot lamps harvested from Florianópolis in November 2019."
"Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in Brazil since late November 2019, much earlier than the first reported case in the Americas," the study highlights.
Other research from China, Spain, and Italy that indicates that the virus was already circulating in those three countries before the first cases were diagnosed.
The study remarks that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected as early as November 27, 2019, 66 days in advance of the first COVID19 confirmed case in the Americas -in the U.S. - 91 days in advance of the first case in Brazil, and 97 days in advance of the first confirmed case in Santa Catalina Region.
The findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 was being passed within the community for several months before the first cases being reported by regional, national, or Pan-American authorities, according to the researchers.