Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water

Participation in the SARS-CoV-2 surveillance program in wastewater in Catalonia

Thursday, 01 October 2020

A team of researchers from the Catalan Water Research Institute (ICRA) has coordinated the design and deployment of the SARS-CoV-2 surveillance network in wastewater in Catalonia. This monitoring serves as an early warning system to detect relevant changes in the circulation of the virus in the waters. The results are provided on a web platform and discussed weekly with the Department of Health of Catalonia and the Catalan Water Agency ( ACA ).

A total of 56 WWTPs across the country are sampled, serving 193 municipalities, and representing 80% of the Catalan population. Territorial balance is guaranteed through the control of at least 1 WWTP per county. 36 of these WWTPs are sampled weekly and 18 every fortnight. Every Tuesday, composite samples of 14 hours proportional to the flow at the entrance of the WWTPs are collected and sent immediately to 3 specialized laboratories for analysis of SARS-Cov-2. The laboratories are the research group in Molecular Biology of Enteric Viruses ; the research group on Viruses, Bacteria and Protozoa of Interest in Public Health and Food Safety ( VirBaP ) and the Biotechnology Area of ​​the EURECAT Technology Center, in Reus.

EURECAT has developed the web viewer in collaboration with ICRA to collect and integrate the data generated by the laboratories and the metadata generated by the sampling. This platform allows the visualization of the data in different ways: on the one hand, an interactive map of the Catalan territory that indicates the level of circulation of the virus and, on the other, graphs and tables with the concentration of the different targets (N1 , N2 and IP4) over time.