The hope: locating the virus in wastewater
(KYMA, KECY, CNN)- Believe it or not, our excrement might be one of our best hopes to quickly detect coronavirus outbreaks.
That's because the disease can be detected in feces even before people get coronavirus tests.
German research institutes and some public works like in the city of Leipzig are right in the middle of a massive trial.
The hope: locating new breaks fast by finding the virus in wastewater.
“If it would be possible to have an idea of the concentration of coronavirus in the wastewater, 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 at Leipzig Waterworks, said.
Germany is amongst several countries experimenting to see whether sewage could be a COVID-19 early warning system.
"Researchers found out very early on during the pandemic that indeed COVID-19 can be traced in feces, but now the big question is, can that be done on a regular automated basis and can it be done in a large area like for instance, an entire country?" CNN’s Fred Pleitgen said.
The biggest problem: finding even small traces of the virus in a lot of sludge like this.
At the renowned Helmholtz Center for Environmental Studies, Virologist, Rene Kallies is trying to do just that.
Aiming to extract parts of the virus' genome called the RNA from large samples of sewage.