Detecting coronavirus in waste water
The study “Building up the early warning surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 based on waste water analysis”
Researchers of the University of Tartu are creating an early warning surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 based on waste water analysis. International experience has shown that traces of the virus can be detected in waste water samples even before clinical patients are found. Waste water analysis also provides early information about the local spread of the virus. The study aims to discover latent outbreaks and monitor the dynamics of outbreaks.
Waste water samples are collected in all Estonian county centres and towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants. Also in main international connection points: Tallinn Airport and Port of Tallinn, border crossing points, etc. In the collection of samples, the University of Tartu cooperates with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and water companies operating the water treatment plants of Estonian towns. Waste water samples are analysed for the traces of coronavirus at the laboratories of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology that have the required technical capacity and trained staff.
The study takes place from August to December 2020.
What can the waste water samples tell us?
We are monitoring the presence of positive signal (coronavirus DNA) in the samples. The methodology for that is currently being developed.
The project is led by Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson and Senior Research Fellow in Molecular Ecology Veljo Kisand.
Based on Decree no. 1.1-2/20/179 of the Minister of Education and Research of 28 July 2020, the study “Building up the early warning surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 based on waste water analysis” is financed by the Ministry of Education and Research.
Tanel Tenson, Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu, tanel.tenson [ät] ut.ee ">tanel.tenson [ät] ut.ee 5344 5202
Margit Meiesaar, Project Manager of the Institute of Technology margit.meiesaar [ät] ut.ee 55649214