Wastewater epidemiology has the potential to act as key capability to aid COVID-19 surveillance in Wales.
The Wales Environmental Wastewater Analysis & Surveillance for Health (WeWASH) project brings together the expertise of Cardiff University, Bangor University, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) and Public Health Wales (PHW) to monitor the levels of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewaters in Wales, contributing to Welsh COVID-19 surveillance efforts and informing Government measures.
Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE) aims to provides comprehensive health information at a community level.
Individuals with COVID-19 shed SARS-CoV-2 in their stool, regardless of whether they have symptoms. Therefore, the use of wastewater epidemiology to quantify the number of viral genomes present in the wastewater provides a non-biased surrogate for community level infection.
This is achieved by:
- Samples of wastewater being extracted and the levels of a target molecule being quantified prior to data analysis and interpretation of chemical and biological compounds in wastewater.
- Wastewater is collected at DCWW treatment works, providing a representative snapshot of the level of a target molecule within community serviced by the treatment plant catchment area.
This project has received funding of approximately £4 million over 12 months from the Welsh Government.
Along with multiple Postdoctoral Research Associates (PDRAs) and technicians, the main points of contact for this project are:
The full list of project partners are:
- Welsh Government
- Bangor University
- Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
- Public Health Wales
Check the WeWASH project out on Twitter and stay up to date with the project.