Wastewater and Its Link to COVID-19 – How Can We Know Beforehand that an Outburst Is Coming Using Sewage?

Wastewater and Its Link to COVID-19 – How Can We Know Beforehand that an Outburst Is Coming Using Sewage?

Researchers have recently discovered a new way of tracking the spreading of the deadly COVID-19 in the community. They have suggested that monitoring sewage could be the key in discovering is the genetic material is present and could infect the community. Therefore, this information would give authorities a head-start of one week before a COVID-19 intracommunity outburst could start.

This discovery was made after in-depth research was conducted on current COVID019 patients, whose RNA was found to still live in their feces. Even though it is still unclear whether the virus could be transmitted through feces, it has been stated that coronavirus RNA can also be found in wastewater. Although the testing procedure can only start if a certain subject presents COVID-19 characteristic symptoms and many of the infected ones are asymptomatic, analyzers are considering using sewage to discover if there are any early signs that could predict if the virus has reached certain areas.

For example, the amount of genetic material originating from COVID-19 peaked seven days before the outburst of patients infected with COVID-19 was registered in Connecticut, as reported on the 22nd of May. The study was conducted beginning with the 19th of March and ending with the 1st of May, when sludge was collected in New Haven. The amount of RNA in the sludge was compared to the number of hospitalized patients in certain days.

This method is not new in terms of discovering any upcoming peak of infections, since it has already been used in determining pathogens such as poliovirus, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and norovirus. Therefore, such monitoring of RNA in coronavirus could be a warning for areas all around the globe that the inevitable is happening and that preparations should be made. As the distancing measures imposed by governments are beginning to be less and less restrictive, knowing beforehand what is going to happen is by far a piece of resourceful information than waiting for people to die.

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