Detecting Coronavirus cases early is the best way to stop it from spreading. Most of the deaths related to COVID-19 are in the critical stages of the disease. But testing a mass population using conventional techniques involves a lot of resources both financial and human. However, researchers from Israel have observed something very interesting. The sewage system that connects water pipes from every building can give an answer to the cure for Coronavirus.
This is because the sewage has excretion material of all human beings living in that area. This means researchers do not need to go to individual households in order to perform tests. They can just collect the excretory matter from a nearby sewage plant and perform all sorts of experiments with it. This also helps identify localities with major COVID-19 outbreaks, because they will have a high concentration of genetic material in their excretory product.
How Sewage treatment will help kill Coronavirus early
The research group is working closely with the Israeli Health Ministry and has a report published online. They hope that the health officials will review their technology and allow them access to other sewage treatment plants for better efficiency of results.
I wrote a story about poop! And how studying it can help track coronavirus and maybe even tell us when the lockdowns can end (!!!) It might sound gross… but sewage early warning systems have for decades helped catch infectious diseases around the world https://t.co/mTc3WcsGIf pic.twitter.com/PoxYwQXWeI
— Rosanna Xia (@RosannaXia) April 29, 2020
Sewage-monitoring will become part of Israel’s national fight against the virus. It has also shared its method on an open-source platform and is eager to see it replicated internationally.
Through most of the lockdown, the Israeli team has been collecting wastewater samples, from Haifa in Israel’s north to the Negev in the south. The operators of wastewater treatment plants are sampling and keeping it in refrigerators for them. They collect it, we freeze it at minus 80 degrees Celsius and then do the tests in a lab.
This is also an indicator of high concentration in levels of SARS-CoV-2. This is what scientists call “proof-of-concept”. Hopefully, this technology will be used globally to detect the early onset of Coronavirus in a wide area population.
Let us know what you think about this new research strategy in the comment box below.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.