New algorithm will allow detecting COVID-19 outbreaks using sewers

2 weeks ago

A team of Canadian scientists is developing an algorithm that will be able to analyze wastewater and determine in which areas a coronavirus outbreak is occurring.

According to the researchers, special sensors will be placed in sewage wells that will detect residual SARS-CoV-2 genes in people’s feces. If the virus is detected, the device will send an alarm to the laboratory, and then scientists will be able to manually check the waste of a particular sewer. According to scientists, this entire process will take no more than a day.

New algorithm will allow detecting COVID-19 outbreaks using sewers

Similar system is already used in many areas of Ottawa, but now the materials of all wells have to be collected manually. The new system will allow to predict more precisely in which areas the outbreak of coronavirus begins and send local residents for testing or self-isolation.

Subsequently, the scientists believe, the algorithm could be used to track other viruses as well as to analyze chemicals in the sewage system. This would help identify the location of explosives and drug laboratories.