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Pan-European Wastewater Testing To Detect Coronavirus

BRUSSELS, Belgium

The European Commission (EC) has announced creation of a pan-European Umbrella Study to examine RNA fragments of SARS-CoV2 in wastewater. The purpose of the study is to reliably monitor the presence of the virus without direct testing of individual persons.

Already, some studies have detected the virus in wastewater before clinical cases are reported which indicates that there is potential to form an early warning system for similar public health monitoring. This ability represents a significant step towards “life with virus” that can ensure preparedness and readiness in fighting a re-emergence.

Together with its research partners, the Commission this month established a "spontaneous" alliance that has engaged directly with 90 wastewater treatment facilities throughout Europe.

The Umbrella Study includes 17 countries with an additional 9 to join the second phase of the study in August. First results are being critically assessed by public and private entities o establish the use of the generated datasets.

UNEP’s World Water Quality Alliance and the World Health Organization have offered their convening power to organise, in the forthcoming weeks, the knowledge transfer to the international community with a special aim to provide assistance to current hotspot areas.

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