COVID-19 wastewater tracing a step closer

A methodology to trace the SARS-CoV-2 virus through sewage and wastewater systems has been developed with a view to potentially tracking current and future coronavirus outbreaks.

The sewage surveillance methodology, developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, aims to provide estimates of how widespread the virus is by calculating the amount of virus shed in faeces and then extrapolating the number of infected people in a population from the samples.

The researchers found SARS-CoV-2 RNA in sewage after conducting sampling at all the wastewater treatment plants in Israel and several additional spots in the sewage pipeline in the Tel Aviv area before, during and after the coronavirus outbreak.

They also found a larger concentration in one area, an outbreak hotspot in Israel. As a result, they believe screening sewage and wastewater could give a better indication of the spread of the virus than current methods.

Australian researchers have also traced sewage with a view to developing an early warning of COVID-19 spread. Researchers from The University of Queensland and the CSIRO last month successfully demonstrated the presence of SARS-CoV2 in untreated wastewater.

A paper outlining the proof of concept will be published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

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Source: MedicalXpress

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