Scientists from the UK have proposed using wastewater analysis for early detection of coronavirus outbreaks. This will allow you to take action and prevent new infections.
Researchers at the British Center for Ecology and Hydrology are working on a standardized test to calculate the concentration of coronavirus in wastewater samples. According to them, such an analysis can predict an outbreak of infections 10 days earlier than standard medical tests.
A network of scientists from universities across the UK has already teamed up with local water companies to collect untreated wastewater samples from treatment plants; this is the first step in mapping potential outbreaks. Researchers note that even such wastewater samples in various parts of the sewer network will determine where the outbreak occurred. This will be a signal for officials who may introduce separate security measures in different areas.
Researchers want to set up and play this test before they deploy it and make it part of the COVID-19 outbreak alert system. They noted that many countries, including Spain, began to monitor wastewater, but they had problems. For example, one of the results indicating the presence of coronavirus in the waters of Barcelona was the result of laboratory pollution.
We can calculate how much virus is in the sample. This will allow us to understand where this sample comes from, who the company serves, and narrow down the search for people who might be infected with the coronavirus. It is in this part of the city that measures must be taken to stop the outbreak.
The main advantage of the new method is its speed. The results of a standard medical test require 7–10 days. Analysis of wastewater will require just one day.