Australian scientists find fast, cheaper way in tracing COVID-19 in wastewater

Australian scientists find fast, cheaper way in tracing COVID-19 in wastewater
# 19 June 2020 12:09 (UTC +04:00)

Researchers from Australia's national science agency have discovered a faster and cheaper way to detect coronavirus outbreaks through wastewater, APA reports citing Xinhua.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Friday revealed that it has refined the methods of concentrating and recovering the virus from wastewater samples, which can indicate the presence of COVID-19 carriers in the community regardless of whether they show symptoms.

In the latest study, scientists have confirmed the most cost-effective and rapid virus recovery process which extracts virus information from wastewater, so it can be tested, with each sample now taking between 15 to 30 minutes to process.

Warish Ahmed, a CSIRO researcher who led the study, said that wastewater monitoring would be crucial in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"We will keep refining the virus concentration and detection methods to provide more sensitive and accurate results of the viral load in wastewater," Ahmed said in a media release.

"This will provide information on the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community so public health officials can have as much information as possible to manage an outbreak in a timely manner."

Larry Marshall, the chief executive of the CSIRO, said that as restrictions begin to ease across Australia wastewater tracking would help communities avoid a second wave of coronavirus.

"This unique monitoring breakthrough will ensure each suburb gets the medical support it needs so all of us, as a nation, can stay healthier," he said.

CSIRO said that wastewater monitoring has been shown to be significantly cheaper and faster than clinical screening for COVID-19, but would be used as an added diagnostic measure.