The last two years have been filled with upheavals. The world has been completely changed by an unexpected virus. It turned out that people still do not always have an idea of the dangers that await them in the future. Then in 2020, no one could know about the properties of the coronavirus and the methods of preventing the spread of this disease. What if scientists are now beginning to guess how to predict the spread of viruses in advance?
In fact, scientists have found a way to learn about impending epidemics. Surprisingly, wastewater analysis can show the presence of viruses. In this article, we will tell you how this is possible.
Method For Detecting Viruses in Sewers
How did the idea of wastewater analysis first arise? Well, this is quite logical since stool tests always show the presence of a virus in the body. Of course, in this case, we are not talking about an individual medical analysis, but such a general test allows you to detect the presence of infection in a large city or small village. As soon as the infection rate rises, it is suspected that many people are carriers of the infection.
You may be surprised, but this method was first used back in the 1940s. Usually, this test is not discussed in society, although its effectiveness was proven decades ago. Wastewater has already been used to detect polio epidemics, but this method can also be useful for detecting other viral diseases such as measles.
Technologies do not stand still, so methods for detecting viruses in wastewater are also being improved. It is now becoming possible to collect genetic material directly from sewers.
Why Test Wastewater?
Currently, medicine is better developed than ever before, so the method of collecting material from sewers may seem outdated and unhygienic. In fact, it proved to be extremely effective during the pandemic. Coronavirus outbreaks were detected by analyzing sewage water even earlier than by the incidence statistics provided by hospitals. Moreover, comparing the current morbidity rates with the infection index, which was demonstrated as a result of wastewater analysis, the scientists were convinced that these indicators coincide.
Thus, since wastewater testing is a fast and reliable way to determine the outbreak and peak spread of infection, this method is promising for the following tasks:
- Inform doctors and scientists about the need to study a new strain of the virus;
- Obtain information about the level of morbidity to regulate precautions in society, such as wearing a mask and maintaining social distance;
- Learn in advance about the need to deliver more vaccines to a particular city.
In addition, the scientists plan to develop this testing system and hope that in the future, it will be able to be more geographically accurate, which will help determine where the carriers of the disease are located.