Human excrement is now being seen by certain researchers as a viable tool to detect coronavirus outbreaks even before symptoms start showing in patients.
Last Updated: May 29, 2020, 5:49 PM IST
With researchers working round the clock to understand the novel coronavirus in order to fight it better and contain it as much as possible, newer evidence is coming to light regarding how the COVID-19 virus can be tackled. And now, some researchers suggest that the answer is in poop.
Human excrement is now being seen by certain researchers as a viable tool to detect coronavirus outbreaks. Researchers from German institutes as well as local waterworks are currently in the middle of a trial in the city of Leipzig in an attempt to ascertain if new outbreaks can be detected faster by analysing sewage water.
“If it would be possible to have an idea of the concentration of coronavirus in the waste water, we can calculate the number of, infected people in Leipzig, and this would be very interesting in the coronavirus strategies,” Dr. Ulrich Meyer, Technical Director of Leipzig Waterworks told CNN.
This could mean that a new outbreak in an area could be detected by analysing waste or sewage in the area, which could reveal the number of infections even before symptoms start showing up in patients.
The fact that COVID-19 can be detected in fecal matter or human excrement was established early on by researchers. The virus was detected in sewage water in Amsterdam within four days of the first cases of COVID-19 being reported in the Netherlands. And now, several countries including Germany and Sweden are trying out systems of automated sewage analysis to help create better warning systems.
Finding a high density of sewage in plants in certain areas or neighborhoods can help authorities better prepare against sudden outbreaks. Spikes in cases can be contained in such instances with targeted testing in such areas.
Sewage testing to restrict the spread of Sars-COV2 in silent transmission-prone areas can also work wonders in helping Indian fight against the COVID-19, which has already infected 1.6 lakh Indians and killed over 4,700 patients.