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COVID project : Investigating the Emergence of pathogens in wastewater

Wastewaters are currently studied as low cost and predictive indicators of pathogen emergences in populations. As part of the OBEPINE consortium, our lab analyses the wastewater from 11 wastewater treatment plants in Alsace. Our weekly-based epidemiologic survey that currently focused on SARS-CoV2 covers 400 000 persons and is representative to the region population (cities, villages, hospitals, industries …etc).

Our results are treated by a mathematic model of normalization. They allow the quantification of Sars-Cov2 circulation in population among the time. The superimposition of these data with incidence rate (blue) and hospitalization rate (red) shows the importance of our analysis for the prediction of the epidemic. In fact, we detect an increased circulation of the virus approximately two weeks before the increase of hospitalization rate. This can be explained by the fact that patient start to release virus in the stool before first symptoms appearance. Results of quantification are published each weeks on the website:

The current used technics for SARS-CoV2 extractions and quantifications have limits of detection around 2000-4000 genomic units per liter and do not allow efficient sequencing to follow the emergence of variants.