What if the best way to observe a rebound in the Covid epidemic was through your toilet? Since last year, the Obépine network, made up of researchers and academics, has been analyzing sewage sewage to try to find traces of the coronavirus.
Covid also attacks the intestine
Because we know that if the virus attacks the respiratory tract, it also attacks our digestive systems. When infected people go to the toilet, they also excrete virus which then ends up in the wastewater system. The researchers then retrieve samples from the purification stations which thus make it possible to trace the virological status of an entire population. This makes it possible to verify the presence of the virus but also to quantify it: what is the epidemic trend? Rebound, decline or stabilization?
Screen a few weeks before the classic indicators
This indicator, which is based on 150 wastewater treatment plants, including those of Rennes, Saint-Malo, Lorient or Quimper, allows to have a global and precursor vision of the evolution of the disease. “We are able, thanks to this tool, to have an exhaustive view on a population and that, a few weeks before the outbreak of a new wave“, explains Professor Yvon Maday, professor of applied mathematics, member of the Obépine network, based in Roscoff half of the year. Before the appearance of the second wave last summer, the Obépine network had been able to alert on his arrival thanks to samples taken from wastewater.
Useful for gastro
This Obépine network is powered by data from wastewater treatment plants in different agglomerations, like that of Quimper. A boon for Jean Paul Cauzien, the mayor of Edern and vice-president of the agglomeration of Quimper in charge of water management: “This network should have existed for a long time, it is obvious! If we have data, let’s use it to do better tomorrow. Somewhere, we protect individuals and their health“Because, in the future, the progress of this technology could also be used in the detection of gastro epidemics, for example.