The corona virus can be detected in wastewater, among other things. An early warning system was therefore developed in 20 German cities. Is that enough?

In view of the increasing number of infections in Germany, nationwide monitoring of the corona situation using wastewater samples is being discussed.

Pandemic control tool

“The wastewater analysis is an excellent tool for pandemic control,” said the chairman of the Federal Association of Physicians in the Public Health Service, Johannes Nießen, of the Funke media group. “It would be ideal if all local authorities participated.” The more cities that take part, the more precise the picture of the infection process becomes.

In a pilot project, twenty cities in Germany are already pursuing the goal of setting up a permanent monitoring system in order to be able to identify developments in the corona pandemic at an early stage, including Potsdam, Stuttgart, Cologne, Dresden and Jena. The aim is to use the virus concentration in the wastewater to determine how widespread Corona is in a region. The method costs little, the effort is low, and you get a real-time situation picture of the pandemic, said Nießen.

Only half of the infections recorded

In Cologne, the analysis found that only half of the infections were recorded in the official corona reporting numbers. Nießen heads the Cologne Health Department and is a member of the German government’s Corona Expert Council.

The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) can understand the demands of Nießen. However, funding from pandemic management funds must first be secured. This would require “binding commitments from the federal and state governments,” said a spokesman.

According to the VKU, no results are yet available for the pilot project initiated by the EU Commission. “The wastewater monitoring allows trends in the infection process to be read in addition to other data.” The project is still in its infancy and is running in chronological order.

The coronavirus mainly affects the respiratory tract. However, particles of the pathogen can also be detected in the stool and accordingly in the waste water.