Variants, Wastewater-based epidemiology and data sharing
Jan 06 2022
Throughout the pandemic, the water sector has played its regular vital role in ensuring essential services keep running. It has also helped through the emerging area of wastewater surveillance, with the pandemic providing an enormous opportunity for use of Wastewater-based Epidemiology (WBE).
Even before COVID-19, the water industry was used to addressing enteric pathogens including viruses in water supply and sanitation. For this reason, there was a high level of confidence from early on that SARS-CoV-2 did not present a major threat for drinking water supplies. As the pandemic gathered pace, the water science community responded at speed to provide knowledge to help fill in the gaps on the new pathogen, SARS-CoV-2. This does have its own unique characteristics, and the community worked to fill gaps in areas such as risks of faecal-oral transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the survival of the virus in sewage, and potential transmission by aerosols.