In Marseille, uForty marine firefighters are tracking the Covid-19 and traces of the English variant in the city’s wastewater. A technique for monitoring the epidemic recommended since last July by the National Academy of Medicine.
Monitoring for Covid-19 in wastewater is useful because it alerts on the increase in the circulation of the virus 7 days in advance. In Marseille since last week, the city’s marine firefighters have been analyzing the wastewater and sending their figures to the ARS and to the city’s hospitals so that they can get ahead of the opening of the number of beds. in intensive care.
But if the analyzes of the wastewater make it possible to follow the circulation of the virus, it is impossible for the moment to determine whether this virus is the English variant or not.
#COVID19 Thanks to their regular analysis of wastewater at 37 sampling points throughout the city, @MarinesPompiers of #Marseille can observe the evolution of the epidemic, thus making it possible to anticipate and adapt the resources committed, such as testing operations. https://t.co/oJMvfvW7pB
– Civil Security (@SecCivileFrance) January 10, 2021
Monitor a resurgence of the epidemic
Wastewater partly reflects the state of health of the population and is a leading indicator of the stage of the epidemic. This is what prompted the National Academy of Medicine to recommend, from last July, that virological monitoring of wastewater be set up in all treatment plants. Baptized Obépine for “Epidemiological observatory in wastewater “, this projectaims to carry out real-time monitoring of traces of Covid19 in wastewater throughout the national territory in order to quickly detect and alert on a potential resurgence of the epidemic.
“The advantage is that we can analyze a large population with a single PCR test”, explains Yvon Maday, mathematician at the Sorbonne, involved in the Obépine network. Another benefit: even people without symptoms can be detected by the viral load present in the stool. Thus, since January 4, researchers have observed an increase in the quantity of viral genomes in wastewater from the Grand-Est, Paca and Ile-de-France regions.
What is the Obépine project?
To date, 158 wastewater treatment plants have been selected in order to obtain a territorial network making it possible to form a “sentinel network”. Lhe research has shown that viral load is detectable in sewage water with high sensitivity.
Wastewater analysis is a very early detection tool. “The monitoring carried out since March 5, in particular at wastewater treatment plants in Ile-de-France, has both confirmed the predictive nature of this viral genome measurement in wastewater – in particular at the occasion of the second wave – and the interest of this new indicator to assess the impact of certain measures, such as the first confinement or the curfew “, it is stressed at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and innovation.
Ultimately, the Obépine indicators could supplement the figures from Public Health France for monitoring the epidemic.
The first traces in non-drinking water in Paris in April
Last April, microtraces of coronavirus had been found in non-drinking water in Paris. These “tiny traces” of Covid-19 had been found at 4 of the 27 collection points of the non-drinking water network in Paris, following the test carried out by the laboratory of the municipal water authority in Paris. This water is not the water we drink or the water we wash with. It’s not even the one that feeds your toilet! It is water that is only used “water the gardens, cleaning the streets, supplying the fountains in the parks” specified the town hall of Paris to the Parisian.
Am I at risk of contracting the coronavirus from drinking tap water?
Beyond the presence of traces of the virus in wastewater, the Obépine project also sought to assess the risk of infection in wastewater or sewage sludge. Monitoring of shellfish, which are filter feeders, has also been implemented. The first results of the study suggest that the virus quickly becomes inactive in all of these settings.
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Coronavirus serological screening
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