With Covid-19 home trials much needed and their performance discussed, health departments from California to Massachusetts turn to wild samples to get a better idea of how coronavirus spreads in communities and what might be stored for health. care programs.
Experts say that polluted water holds the key to better understanding the social life of cities and neighborhoods, especially in poorly maintained areas with limited access to care.
"Every time an infected person uses the toilet, he or she pulls this information out of the toilet, where it collects and mixes and mixes with the faeces from thousands of other people," said Newsha Ghaeli, founder and president of Biobot Analytics. , a Massachusetts-based wastewater treatment company.
"Even if you can't reach the test, you're still full of water," Gael said. "It does not depend on getting health care or health insurance."
Sewage monitoring can be compared to other public health concerns, such as obesity, opioids and even polio, says Sheree Pagsuyoin, an associate professor of public engineering and the environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The epidemic has ushered in a new era of wastewater analysis, which was once a distorted discipline, to inform public health policy.
"It's like mapping the practice," Pagsuyoin said, adding that there was a "paradigm shift" as more cities turned to sewage analysis to better understand local challenges.
Recent analyzes of wastewater from various sources around the world show an unprecedented increase in disease at a time when millions of people are being forced to reconsider their travel and vacation plans.
According to the Biobot Analytic wastewater dashboard, Covid-19 levels obtained from wild samples across the country are now higher than ever before in the epidemic.
Recent Houston sewage samples, for example, indicate that there has been a significant increase in the number of coronavirus found in city city waste. As of December 20, the number of viruses in the Houston blood, or the viral load found in the samples, was 546 percent, and the goodness level was 14 percent, according to the city's Department of Health's wastewater dashboard. The viral load has risen from 142 percent last week and 76 percent last week.
More than 700 city workers have been infected, Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted. As a result, Turner announced the opening of two more megasites that will provide free testing to residents.
Drs. Amesh Adalja, senior consultant at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, stated: “Polluted water will be the leading indicator of what is happening in a particular community.
"It will also provide an indication of what is to come, as not all Covid cases come to health care - most cases are mild or asymptotic," he added. "But the fact is that people infected with the virus will get the virus out of their cells."
Sewage monitoring also shows rising numbers of cases in parts of California, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri and North Carolina, as well as Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom.
A team of researchers at the University of Missouri was working with the provincial Department of Health and Higher Services and the Department of Environment to track the virus in contaminated water.
Researchers in Missouri isolated the virus from large waste particles and extracted its genes. They can also develop genes and learn more about the process known as the quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. In addition to detecting the presence of the old Covid-19 virus in human waste, researchers are also able to identify alternatives.
New data shows that the most infectious omicron variant is spreading rapidly across the region.
An extended study conducted on December 20 found genetic mutations related to the omicron variant in 32 of the 57 wastewater samples collected nationwide, Jeff Wenzel, who oversees the national health department's wastewater monitoring program, told the Associated Press. A survey conducted last week found the change in 15 of the 63 testing sites.
Pagsuyoin is part of a team in Massachusetts that develops a wireless sensor capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes Covid-19, in air and dirty water days before the outbreak of violence. The researchers will conduct a three-year study using data from three monitoring centers, two in Massachusetts and one in the Philippines.
"People are becoming more and more open about using sewage information to find out where the so-called disease comes from," he said. "We can use this technology to effectively monitor people's health."
Sewage analysis is most effective as an early warning signal during an increase in sewage increases - mainly because people do not check frequently when prices fall - and in follow-up situations when waves begin to disappear. It can also help fill certain gaps between waves where testing is insufficient and serves as a benchmark for waves, says Dr. Albert Ko, professor of public health, epidemics and medicine at Yale University’s School of Public Health.
"The advantage of looking at styles over time and comparing them, let's say, 'Are we worse off transmitting this wave compared to the last one?'"
Ko said the wastewater monitoring is best used as part of a broader outbreak analysis that takes other data points, such as testing.