Covid-19 one year on: How water testing can help detect Covid-19

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The R394 milion wastewater treatment works of the Stellenbosch Municipality.
The R394 milion wastewater treatment works of the Stellenbosch Municipality.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak a year ago, epidemiologists started testing sewage for signs of new waves of Covid-19 infections.

In the Western Cape, the City of Cape Town has been working closely with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to detect the spread of the virus in wastewater treatment plants.

The City's Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Xanthea Limberg told News24 when the national lockdown started, water scientists and epidemiologists initiated a wastewater surveillance programme together with academics to monitor the trends of Covid-19 viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) in waste water. RNA is genetic material similar to DNA.

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