Health The Academy of Medicine recommends monitoring wastewater

The Academy of Medicine recommends monitoring wastewater

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Illustration of a treatment plant. – © Fabrice ELSNER

Information that could boost sales of bottled water? While around the world, traces of SARS-CoV-2 have been found in wastewater, theMedical academy recommended Tuesday the systematic surveillance of this virus and others in treatment plants in France.

Elements of the coronavirus genome in wastewater

Since the onset of the disease in China, several scientific studies have noted the presence of coronavirus in the stool of patients. From toilets to sewers and sewage treatment plants, there is only one step taken by several research groups which quickly found elements of the genome of the new coronavirus in wastewater,
Paris, Amsterdam or Brisbane.

This research shows that the amount of traces of the virus – “rapidly inactivated in water” – “is correlated with the epidemic curve, preceding the arrival of the wave, following its ascent and decreasing sharply with its regression”, notes l Academy of Medicine in a press release.

“This direct temporal relationship with the epidemic wave and especially before it even appears, can make this indicator a precious tool for predicting possible outbreaks, by testing the presence of the virus on hundreds of thousands of people,” he adds. she.

She therefore pleads for “systematic” surveillance of the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 by analyzing the wastewater from treatment plants “as long as the virus circulates in the population”.

Extend surveillance to other viruses

The Academy also recommends extending this surveillance to other viruses such as myxoviruses (which includes influenza), rotaviruses (which cause gastroenteritis) or respiratory syncitial viruses (bronchiolitis) and to “build a bank of samples allowing retrospectively to detect any new virus or pathogenic agent which appears in the population thus fixing the beginning of the epidemic ”.

In March, Professor Vincent Maréchal, virologist at Sorbonne University, who takes part in studies carried out by the laboratory of the municipal management Eau de Paris, had advocated the creation of a national Sentinel network for monitoring wastewater to to anticipate a resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic.

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