GCRF_NF252 Co-surveillance of Wasterwater and Environmental Water Samples for SARS-CoV-2 and Pathogenic Viruses in South Africa and Nigeria: Incidence

Lead Research Organisation: Bangor University
Department Name: Sch of Ocean Sciences


Information about SARS-CoV-2 levels circulating in the community is an essential part of developing an effective strategy to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 globally. Testing of individuals is time consuming, costly and currently does not capture a large proportion of the population. Wastewater monitoring of SARS-CoV-2, shed in faeces from infected individuals, including asymptomatic cases, provides an alternative approach. It has distinct benefits, obviating community sampling bias, and providing a cheap, non-invasive process to determine the level of infection in a large community within a single sample. However, this method cannot be directly implemented in many developing regions where wastewater is released into the environment without any treatment. Such pollution raises concerns about the environment-based transmission of the disease, which has not been studied.
Our project aims to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in two sub-Saharan countries, South Africa and Nigeria, using wastewater-based epidemiology and environmental surveillance. We will measure SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations to investigate the spread of COVID-19 at a community level. We will also assess the occurrence of other, common and emerging virus strains (e.g. enteroviruses, measles and influenza) to evaluate the effect of lockdown measures on the transmission of viral diseases. We will also determine the health risks associated with polluted environments using infectivity assays and determine the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in each country using environmental metaviromics. Working alongside public health stakeholders, our findings will allow enhanced decision making on the containment of COVID-19 and achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6 and 11.


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Description News item on University Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Onlin news article on the new funding received from the GCRF project focusing on the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in Nigeria and South Africa
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bangor.ac.uk/news/tracking-covid-19-and-other-viruses-in-wastewater
Description Tweet about new project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tweet about the GCRF project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://twitter.com/WEWASH3/status/1367716876827123712