KWR in the news G.J. Medema - The myriad ways sewage surveillance is helping fight COVID around the world
“Wastewater tracking was used before the pandemic to monitor for polio and illicit drug use, but interest in the field and its applications has now ballooned. From the subarctic community of Yellowknife, Canada, to the subtropical city of Brisbane, Australia, scientists in more than 50 nations are now monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage. The number of sewage-surveillance programmes tracking COVID-19 has exploded during the past year from a dozen or so research projects to more than 200, following the discovery that whole virus particles and viral fragments are shed in faeces.
The information garnered is helping scientists to track down cases, predict surges, identify where to target testing, and estimate overall numbers of infected people in cities or regions. Although sewage surveillance has been used for several decades to identify polio outbreaks and target immunization programmes, and, more recently, to detect illicit drug use, the pandemic has brought new focus and investment in it as a means of tracking public health.”
(Citation: Kreier, F. – KWR in the news G.J. Medema – The myriad ways sewage surveillance is helping fight COVID around the world – www.nature.com (2021)10 May)