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The companies of the Aquanet Group and the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences will help the city of Poznan in sampling and testing of wastewater, Source: City of Poznan

Poznan to study Covid-19 through wastewater

Poznan to study Covid-19 through wastewater

This could give a more accurate picture of the actual number of infections

The city of Poznań informed on Monday that they have signed an agreement to launch a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA monitoring platform for wastewater. The Polish city believes that this will allow them to better determine how many city residents are sick with COVID-19. To do this, the authority will partner up with research and private partners.

Wastewater might show a clearer picture of the state of Covid in Poznan

On 18 October representatives Poznań, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Aquanet Laboratorium and Aquanet SA agreed to cooperate on the monitoring of coronavirus in the sewage system.

According to Deputy Mayor Bartosz Guss, the agreement will allow estimating the real scale of infections in Poznań, for one. On the other hand, it will also benefit scientists to more accurately study variants and mutations of the coronavirus.

The project will unfold in the context of a growing number of infections in Poland and the insufficient levels of vaccinations in one of the largest Polish cities, which stand at around 68%.

Poznan will cooperate with experienced partners, that will take the samples and test them for the RNA content of the virus: Aquanet Group and the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Said partners will check how many copies of the virus RNA are in the samples and thus – discover how many city residents are sick with COVID-19.

We were one of the first centres in Poland to start conducting this type of research already during the first waves of the pandemic,” commented Paweł Chudziński, President of the Management Board of Aquanet SA. Since June 2020, the method developed by analysts from Aquanet Laboratorium has been successfully implemented as part of the permanent monitoring of the sewage system in the Poznań agglomeration.

The results of research conducted so far clearly indicate that there is a relationship between the number of infections found by the Ministry of Health and the number of virus RNA copies detected in the samples. At most of the analyzed monitoring points, their numbers are now larger than the number of reported cases of infection in Poznań. This hints at the presence of a greater risk of infection than official data suggests, as there are obviously many people who show no symptoms, despite being infected.

Furthermore, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry will supplement the research on the presence of the virus in wastewater with the sequencing of its genome. This will identify variants that may be more virulent or infectious - similar to how the current Delta variant became dominant.

This approach is actually not a precedent for Europe. In September, Cyprus launched an EU-funded wastewater coronavirus-monitoring project, following the recommendation of the European Commission for a common approach to surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in urban sewage across the EU. Moreover, TheMayor.EU reported in October 2020 of a similar collaboration between regional authorities and the University of Valencia.

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