LIST continues its CORONASTEP study on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in Luxembourg's wastewater: since 25 June, a clear increase of the coronavirus in wastewater has been observed.
After being undetectable in most treatment plants between 15 May and 15 June, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is again being detected at all treatment plants studied since 25 June. Between 22 and 25 June, the number of infected people detected in the population was around 50 cases. Our indirect virus surveillance technique, through wastewater, makes it possible for early detection and its circulation in the population: the figures observed since 25 June are comparable to those observed at the end of April.
These observations confirm the interest for similar monitoring in the long term. Analyses in wastewater should become detection and prevention for possible future occurrence of viral epidemics or outbreaks like the ones we are currently facing. The results of our Coronastep study, sent to the National Taskforce on 1 July, were also taken up the same day by Minister of Health Paulette Lenert during the press briefing following the Council of Government.
This health crisis has highlighted the value of monitoring wastewater in almost all European countries. LIST's know-how in the isolation of viruses from complex matrices such as wastewater has been exported in recent months to neighbouring countries, in particular in the context of direct collaboration with the teams in charge of surveillance in France or Belgium. The Environmental Microbiology group at LIST has also integrated various European networks on the subject. The most important is undoubtedly the one run by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. The JRC’s "SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring employing Sewers" action aims to share the sampling and analysis protocols for wastewater in order to build comparable European databases that can be used in the future. The goal: to continue improving techniques for monitoring viral diseases based on wastewater.
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