Infectious Disease

Wastewater-based COVID-19 surveillance provides inexpensive, rapid testing for African nations

November 26, 2021

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Yakubu H. et al. Summary LB-5241. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene; November 17-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

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The authors do not report any relevant financial information.

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Wastewater-based monitoring of COVID-19 has been shown to be effective and feasible in resource-poor environments, according to data presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene meeting.

Habib Yakubu, MPH, a public health worker at Emory University, and colleagues analyzed 208 wastewater samples from January to May at sites near Accra, Ghana – three sites primarily served by sewer systems and six public toilets with no sewer systems.

Yakubu H. et al.  Summary LB-5241.  Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene;  November 17-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Yakubu H. et al. Summary LB-5241. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene; November 17-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Weekly counts confirmed that COVID-19 cases were detected at both locations. Of 134 samples from public toilets without sewers, 11.2% tested positive for SARS-CoV-2-RNA. Of 74 samples from the sewer network, 35.1% tested positive.

Habib Yakubu

“In Ghana, the Ghana Health Service uses this information to provide information [the] COVID-19 response in vulnerable communities where no COVID-19 cases have been reported and in facilities such as schools and industrial plants, “Yakubu told Healio. “In the future, Ghana Health Service plans to use wastewater tests to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and COVID-19 infections at entry points into Ghana.”

In a second study, which was also presented at the conference, Evelin MarchInose, a research fellow at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, and colleagues showed that SARS-CoV-2 genes can be detected through wastewater-based monitoring.

They collected weekly samples in two of four wastewater treatment plants in LeÖn, Nicaragua. A total of 61.7% of all wastewater samples tested positive – 67.5% from one location and 56.1% from the other.

No correlation was found between SARS-CoV-2 monitoring and wastewater temperature, pH or precipitation.

“It’s inspiring to see our researchers study so many different aspects of the pandemic,” said ASTMH President Julie Jacobson, MD, DTM & HAccording to a press release.

References:

Martinez E. et al. Abstract 0860. Presented at: American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Annual Meeting; November 17-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Yakubu H. et al. Summary LB-5241. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene; November 17-21, 2021 (virtual meeting).

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American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)

American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)

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