Dutch scientists found coronavirus in sewage before any cases got reported in the region. They tested the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage during the exposure of coronavirus in Netherlands. Scientists claim this to be the first report of detection of virus in sewage while the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on February 27 in Netherlands.

The research was conducted by researchers affiliated with KWR Water Research Institute, Nieuwegein, Netherlands. Sewage samples of seven cities and airports were tested out of which no SARS-CoV-2 was detected on February 6. On March 15 and 16 some fragment of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in sewage of six cities respectively.

Virus in sewer increases with spike in transmission

coronavirus structure
3D medical animation coronavirus structure Wikimedia Commons

SARS-CoV-2 is often excreted through the stool of infected person hence sewage plays a vital role in transmission of the virus. Load of virus in sewer systems of the city increase simultaneously with the increase of infection amongst the public.

Presence of the virus in sewages can also become a threatening problem causing re-emergence of coronavirus in the cities. Main objective of this research was to determine the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic water and airport during the early stage of epidemic in Netherlands.

"It is important to collect information about the occurrence and fate of this new virus in sewage to understand if there is no risk to sewage workers, but also to determine if sewage surveillance13 could be used to monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in our communities," say the authors.

Sewage surveillance is an important tool

Keeping close observation on sewage could be an important tool to monitor circulation of virus in the population. A healthcare workers study in two hospitals suggests that SARC-CoV-2 was already circulating undetected amongst the people prior to when the first case was detected.

This indicates that mild coronavirus does exist in the community that is not diagnosed. The authors support that "A significant proportion of COVID-19 goes undetected, since people with mild symptoms are not tested."