A technique that detects coronavirus strains circulating in a community could become an early-warning system.
08 July 2022
Remite RUBEN PIACENTINI
Researchers in California have flushed a wealth of data out of toilet waste. For the first time, scientists have been able to detect specific variants of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage weeks before they were showing up in testing clinics.
The wastewater data tracked “wave after wave of different viruses”, says Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and co-author of the study1, which was published in Nature on 7 July. Knight says that the technique could eventually be used to track emerging variants and speed up the public-health response. “When the next strain comes through, we will be ready for it.”
Research groups worldwide have used sewage surveillance to track SARS-CoV-2, but these approaches typically detected only the presence and amount of the virus. This was then used to estimate the amount of transmission in a community. But efforts to identify which variants were circulating and how prevalent they were have been plagued by low-quality data.
To overcome this, the team in California developed a method that uses nanobeads to increase the amount of viral RNA that can be sequenced from a wastewater sample. Previous techniques allowed scientists to sequence no more than 40% of the viral RNA in a sample, whereas the nanobead method enabled the researchers to sequence nearly 95%. The California team also developed a tool, called Freyja, to identify the variants present in each sample, and their relative abundance. Read more…
La Asociación Civil Academia de Ciencias Médicas de la Provincia de Santa Fe, con personería jurídica aprobada por la Inspección General de Personas Jurídicas de la provincia el día 2 de marzo de 2017, constituye la Academia de Ciencias Médicas de Santa Fe, tal como lo indican sus estatutos. Leer más