The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in wastewater. Scientists from Uppsala University, KTH and SLU have received support from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and SciLifeLab to determine if wastewater treatment plants can effectively eliminate the virus from raw wastewater.
The scientists will also investigate if there is a connection between the amount of virus in the wastewater and the spread of COVID-19 in the community, if you can predict the virus spread from the wastewater concentrations and finally if there are any mutations of the virus.
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread rapidly around the world and permeated all levels of society. Recent studies have shown that it is possible to detect the virus in wastewater. Scientists hope that they can get information about the virus levels in a community by detecting it in wastewater, which is very useful for epidemiologists and authorities.
A team of scientists at the department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University and at the department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health at SLU in collaboration with Uppasala Vatten and scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm will study the concentration and genomic composition of the virus in wastewater.
Aims to investigate virus in the wastewater
The project aims to investigate if the concentrations of virus in the wastewater is connected to the spread of the virus in the community, if it is possible to predict the virus spread by monitoring the wastewater virus concentration and finally the scientists want to investigate the mutations and diversity of the virus in the wastewater.
The team is led by Dr Anna Szekely, researcher at the department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University.
“Opposite to the virus tests done at hospitals that only look at the sickest patients, wastewater can reflect the amount and diversity of the virus within the entire population of a town,” Anna Szekely said.
The team plans to monitor the virus at the wastewater treatment plant of Uppsala, as well as analyse and compare wastewater samples from different regions within Sweden and the world where COVID-19 pandemic is in different stages.