Coronavirus can be detected in sewage, can act as early warning signal in cities, districts: Researcher
Scientists have found that Coronavirus can be detected in sewage water to understand the number of cases in a country, district or city. This can act as an early warning signal.
SARS-CoV-2 is part of the coronavirus family of viruses and is related to the SARS-CoV-1 that had spread in 2012. This virus is a respiratory virus that causes symptoms that are similar to the common cold.
Previous studies have shown that this virus can be excreted through the stool and is also viable enough to spread to the hands, water, food etc.
Researchers from the KWR water research institute in the Netherlands over a span of two months - February to March - found that sewage water can be used to find out if coronavirus has spread in the country. They conducted several investigations at various sewage treatment plants in the Netherlands during the course of their research.
The team said that the methods they used, because of the shortage of time in this crisis, was done 'on the fly'. They have also not published their findings on any of the peer-reviewed journals as yet.
The microbiologists started their research three weeks before the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country (6 February 2020). The next two samples of the wastewater were taken on 5 March and 15 March.
What did they find?
They found that coronavirus was not found in the water after it has passed through the wastewater treatment plants. This shows that treating sewage water can rid it of the virus. They also believe that, even though they found the virus, it was not an overwhelming amount and hence the people working at these plants are also not at risk to get infected with the disease.
And last but not the least, the researchers believe that using their method of analysing the sewage will give the concerned authorities a better understanding of the spread of the virus in a specific place. However, they do mention that this method will be better suited for smaller areas, like a city or a smaller district.
Updated Date: Apr 01, 2020 12:17:45 IST
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