KWR in the news G.J. Medema - Detecting COVID-19 variants in wastewater
“The global COVID-19 pandemic escalated quickly, and the challenge has been compounded by the rapid spread of new variants. The Source reviews some of the ongoing efforts of the water science community to apply wastewater surveillance to these variants. “Every country in the world is struggling to control the spread of variants,” says Professor Banu Ormeci, co-chair of the IWA COVID-19 Task Force, summing up the current situation in a recent IWA webinar convened by the Task Force.
The emergence of variants has sparked major concerns regarding increased transmissibility and infectivity, disease severity, and potential resistance to vaccines and treatments.
A variant, now designated the Alpha variant by WHO, was detected in the UK towards the end of 2020 and, despite a harsh lockdown, the Dutch authorities confirmed that, in just 12 weeks, the variant had not only entered the Netherlands, but had come to represent almost 90% of cases. This illustrates how the global situation escalated quickly, both in terms of the spread of the disease and the emergence of variants.
Alongside this, the water science community responded at speed. To gather early experiences, the IWA COVID-19 Task Force brought together leading experts in a webinar to share their experiences of using a range of methods to identify and track SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VoC) in their countries.”
(Citation: KWR in the news G.J. Medema – Detecting COVID-19 variants in wastewater – www.thesourcemagazine.org (2021)23 August)