How Wastewater Samplers Are Detecting COVID-19
Revolutionary ‘torpedo’ passive samplers, developed by Monash University, Victoria’s Department of Health, Melbourne Water, Water Research Australia and other industry partners, are being used to track traces of COVID-19 in wastewater.
According to Associate Professor David McCarthy, Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University, the ‘torpedo’ has revolutionised the way we can monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, and these devices are now being used all over Victoria for early detection of COVID-19 to contain outbreaks and prevent further lockdowns.
“In the recent outbreak (June 2021), our devices were able to detect the presence of the original infection in the Epping sewershed days prior to there being a reported clinical case, allowing our Chief Health Officer to sound the alert and call for those with symptoms to get tested,” said Assoc. Prof. McCarthy.
“Other examples of early detection using our devices followed, which allowed the Department of Health to target messaging to encourage those living or visiting these catchments to get tested and isolate, with consequent case diagnosis and isolation. Victorian decision makers were indeed drawing on the data made possible by our sampling innovation to inform key decisions affecting all Victorians.
“Direct social, health and economic impact does not get more real and substantial than major city COVID lockdowns; the early detection that our sensitive wastewater sampling devices permit has been coined a ‘game changer’ by our Department of Health partners.
“The ‘torpedo’s’ impact is well beyond Victoria with a national and global reach and it is now actively used in all states and territories of Australia and has been used in the following countries: New Zealand, Indonesia, China, South Africa, five states across the USA, five provinces and territories in Canada, The Netherlands, Italy, UK, France, Luxemburg, Spain, and this list is growing.”