FRAGMENTS of an acid linked to coronavirus have been found in waste water samples in Greater Glasgow, according to an environmental body. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) began exploratory work in May to find traces of the virus’s genetic footprint, similar to DNA.

Analysis of the collected samples has identified coronavirus’s ribonucleic acid (RNA) in waste water in Dalmuir, West Dunbartonshire, and Shieldhall. 

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Across Scotland, 12 out of the country's 14 health boards were found to have elements of RNA. 

The results have been shared with Public Health Scotland (PHS) and are consistent with areas known to have confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Terry A’Hearn, Sepa chief executive, said: “As Scotland’s environmental watchdog and as a public agency, we remain proud to be playing our part in the national effort to combat coronavirus.

“Our scientific capabilities and expertise in designing and implementing monitoring networks made us ideally suited to delivering this trial and the results we are seeing demonstrate its scientific validity.

Glasgow Times:

Central to the delivery of this project has been our partnership working with Scottish Water and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, and we will continue to work closely together to refine our techniques and understanding.

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“We’ve received support from across the public sector, agencies and institutions – including a donation of specialist kit from Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture – demonstrating how Scotland is coming together to find ways of tackling this virus.”

The World Health Organisation has said there is currently no evidence Covid-19 has been transmitted via sewerage systems.

What is RNA?

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is essentially a polymeric molecule which is found in the genes of various biological roles.

RNA and DNA are both nucleic acids and are essential for all known forms of life.

Coronaviruses are a group of RNA viruses that cause disease.

The Scottish Envirnment Protection Agency (SEPA) began exploratory work to pinpoint fragments of coronavirus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA) in local waste water samples with the backing of Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland (PHS).

Alongside Scottish Water, CREW (Centre of expertise for Waters) and academic partners from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Heriot Watt University. 

The Sepa data is available to view online at