Virus may not have started in China, but was lurking all over ...

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Virus may not have started in China, but was lurking all over the world

Experts believe many viruses lie dormant, waiting for the right conditions – and sewage is the common factor

Sarah Knapton

Coronavirus may have lain dormant across the world and emerged when environmental conditions were right for it to thrive, rather than starting in China, an Oxford University expert believes.

Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at Oxford, and visiting professor at Newcastle University, says there is growing evidence that the virus was elsewhere before it emerged in Asia.

Last week, Spanish virologists announced that they had found traces of Covid-19 in samples of waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the disease was seen in China. Italian scientists have also found evidence of the virus in sewage samples in Milan and Turin, from mid-December, many weeks before the first case was detected, while experts have found traces in Brazil from November...

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