Rising levels of SARS-CoV-2 detected in wastewater before corresponding spike in clinical cases
By sampling sewage across greater Paris for more than 1 month, researchers have detected a rise and fall in novel coronavirus concentrations that correspond to the shape of the COVID-19 outbreak in the region, where a lockdown is now suppressing spread of the disease. Although several research groups have reported detecting coronavirus in wastewater, the researchers say the new study is the first to show that the technique can pick up a sharp rise in viral concentrations in sewage before cases explode in the clinic. That points to its potential as a cheap, noninvasive tool to warn against outbreaks, they say.
“This visibility is also going to help us predict a second wave of outbreaks,” says Sébastien Wurtzer, a virologist at Eau de Paris, the city’s public water utility. Wurtzer and his colleagues posted the study, which has not been peer-reviewed, on the preprint repository medRxiv on 17 April. [ . . ]
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