The coronavirus can be detected in wastewater. Researchers are now working on an early warning system to be able to monitor the infection process in entire regions.
In many places, measures to protect against the Coronavirus relaxed. Many people are therefore concerned about the second wave of outbreaks.
In order to identify new sources of infection in good time, researchers are now using unusual means: A team of 20 wastewater experts, microbiologists and virologists are currently examining samples from sewage treatment plants in different cities.
The coronavirus can be detected in the stool of infected people. Fragments of the virus genome can therefore also be found in the wastewater. However, according to the current status, these are not contagious.
Coronavirus early warning system in sewage treatment plants?
German researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig want to develop an early warning system with which they can warn about new corona hotspots in good time. Even the consequences of the current Easing you could use it to document.
The scientists believe that they can record around 80 percent of the wastewater flow with daily samples from around 900 sewage treatment plants. This way you could do it with just one test monitor the infection of an entire region. The undisclosed number of infected people could also come to light.
Dutch study shows initial success
A Dutch study shows that that could work. From February 2020, the scientists had regularly taken wastewater samples at, among others, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Only four days after the first case became known in the Netherlands, they were able to detect the genetic material of the virus in the wastewater.
However, it still takes some time before the early warning system can be used. The researchers are currently testing various methods to detect even the smallest amounts of the coronavirus in wastewater.