SAMRC's wastewater tracking of Covid-19 signals KZN third wave

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Wastewater analysis in KwaZulu-Natal indicates the province might already be in the third wave of Covid-19, reports News24, quoting Durban University of Technology's Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology.

"According to recent clinical data, the number of active cases in KZN and the eThekwini Municipality began to rise steadily since 20 April 2021, however, we have started observing the spike in viral loads in wastewater since 30 March 2021, almost three weeks before the actual clinically confirmed cases were reported – indicating that WBE may be used as a predictive tool for surges in Covid-19 infections and that frequent monitoring is required for future wave predictions," said the Institute's research team.

The SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC)has been gathering data from 70 wastewater treatment plants in four provinces, tracking SARS-CoV-2 as shed in faeces of people who are symptomatic or asymptomatic, to assist in mapping Covid-19 trends in a particular community. Last week, SAMRC launched its wastewater surveillance dashboard tracker of SARS-CoV-2.

SAMRC tests wastewater from parts of the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape weekly to see the amount of the virus in a particular community, which allows them to map the virus's trends.

Dr Mongezi Mdhluli, the Chief Research Operations Officer at the SAMRC, said that this tool would help public health authorities come up with timeous interventions to help reduce the spread of the virus.


Full News24 report (Open access)


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