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Brazilian researchers on discovery of COVID-19 virus in November sewage



A Brazilian research team found samples of the new coronavirus in the sewer system of the southern city of Florianopolis back in late November 2019, three months before the first COVID-19 case was officially recorded in the country on February 26.

The researchers from the Applied Virology Lab at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) published their findings in a paper on June 26. CGTN’s correspondent in Brazil, Paulo Cabral, has spoken to two leading researchers on the team for more details about their discovery.

“We are sure of what we found in the November sample. It is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We have no doubts about that,” Patricia Stoco, a geneticist at the lab, told CGTN.

“We are now effectively working on sequencing the whole genome of these samples, so we’ll be able to compare the sequencing of the virus found in our samples from late November with that of the virus now actually circulating and infecting people,” she said.

“Doing that we could maybe detect mutations that could possibly explain the increase in the number of cases now,” she added, stressing that comparing the full genetic sequencing is important to deepen understanding about the virus.

Gislaine Fongaro, a virologist at the university, explained how the research was conducted. She said the samples were collected from raw sewage in the pipes en route to the treatment plant.

“These samples were collected monthly between October 2019 and March 2020. So we take the samples to the laboratory and freeze them. That’s why we could go back over them now – they were frozen,” she said.

“Results came back negative for SARS-CoV-2 in the samples from October. And then negative again in the early November samples. But then results came back positive for the first time for a sample from November 27. And then all samples tested came back positive until March 2020,” she explained.

She said it’s possible that if they went further back, they could find more positive results for the novel coronavirus.

“It would be very important if we could review samples dating back to the beginning of the year [of 2019],” she said, adding that she hopes their research will encourage other teams who may have access to older samples to check them, and also encourage researchers to look into other older clinical samples taken from patients, which could also help tell the story of the virus.

“Because if we found this in the sewer, that’s because people were already carrying the virus. That means there were already people who were infected but were not diagnosed because we did not know about the virus back then,” she noted.

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Pakistan Observes KASHMIR SOLIDARITY DAY in Abuja



Joel Ajayi

The people of Pakistan inside the country and across the world is observing Kashmir Solidarity Day Today’s Monday express solidarity with Kashmiris in their struggle for the right to self-determination.  
Since 1990, the Nation of Pakistan observes February 5th as Kashmir Solidarity Day.

According to the statement issued by the High Commissioner of Islamic Republic of Pakistan Abuja, Nigeria H.E Mr Sohail Ahmad Khan stated that, Kashmir Solidarity Day serves as an annual reminder of the  prolonged conflict in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where the struggle for self-determination has left an indelible mark on the lives of innocent Kashmiris. 

“Multiple UN Resolutions unambiguously declare that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted  under the auspices of the United Nations. 

“Numerous international, UN organizations as well as UN Special Rapporteurs have reported gross human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. 

“Media and press is under tremendous pressure by Indian Government especially in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir which is evident from India’s  ranking of 161 out of 180 countries as per 2023 World Press Freedom.

“Jammu and Kashmir has been converted into world’s most militarized zone and the largest prison on earth. Pakistan stands firm with Kashmiri brothers and sisters and  will continue to provide unwavering diplomatic support.

“Pakistan demands that International community including United Nations and it’s relevant Human Rights Machinery, Civil Society Organizations, Media Houses and other defenders of Human  Rights to fulfill their obligations towards besieged Kashmiris by playing their part to end the rule of tyranny and oppression.”

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