Coronavirus: New Zealand scientists pioneered wastewater testing to track the prevalence of COVID-19 | Instant News

“By detecting and monitoring coronavirus in wastewater, we can potentially see how effective eradication is, measure changes in various areas, and better understand patterns of community transmission,” said Dr. Brett Cowan, chief scientist at ESR.

“Although wastewater-based epidemiology is still seen as an emerging science, we have used it to better understand the health and well-being of our community.”

But Dr Cowan recognizes that coronavirus, as a respiratory disease, cannot be spread by contaminated faeces and thus COVID-19 levels will be low and difficult to detect.

“The possibility of the virus will not last long in wastewater because digestive fluids in the body and organisms in the waste will quickly break it down. This also means there is very little risk of getting COVID-19 from wastewater,” he explained.

“But this research is important; we collaborate with research organizations here and internationally and contribute to global efforts to learn more about coronaviruses and ultimately find vaccinations.”

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