Covid England, variant hunting with sewer water tests

In the hunt for variants of Covid-19, the British authorities also rely on the analysis of sewage water. The test system now covers two-thirds of England’s population, the London government announced today. Read also Sewage analysis has been used in several countries to track the spread of the virus. Variants are also sought in England, especially the Indian one. The Department of Health and Social Care (Dhsc) explains that the program has already served to alert on the situation in Bristol and Luton. A dedicated laboratory was opened in Exeter last month to analyze samples from 500 locations in the UK. The idea is to use this system also in the future to monitor the spread of other influenza viruses. “As infections drop and we move towards the end of the restrictions, analyzing wastewater for variants can help authorities to act quickly” with human testing and tracing of infections “to prevent variants from spreading in communities,” explains Andrew Engeli, project manager at the Joint Biosecurity Center. The scheme, he told the BBC, “has successfully identified the presence of Covid in communities of 14 thousand people where only one or two people had tested positive” and perhaps many were asymptomatic. The analysis of sewage can also be limited to prisons or factories.

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