The coronavirus has come to paralyze almost 100% of our daily lives: the population is confined and many sectors have had to completely cease their activity. Only those activities considered essential are still ongoing and those in the water and sanitation sector are two of them.
 
The professionals of the companies belonging to this field continue working so that quality water does not stop running from the taps and the wastewater purification cycle is not truncated. Despite the slowdown in many industries, sourcing remains effective. Something vital, above all, so that the health of the inhabitants is not affected by the poor condition or water contamination.
 
Treatment plants, water treatment plants, desalination plants, supply networks and sewerage. As in hospitals, extraordinary security measures have been applied in most of these spaces to ensure that the workforce can continue to operate normally and at full performance. A minimal alteration could lead to consequences of catastrophic dimensions.
 

The analysis of the Wastewater can alert of the presence of COVID-19

The Wastewater Treatment sector is not only the focus of this crisis COVID-19 because of its usual essential role, whatever the situation, but also because of another role it can offer: that of detecting and predicting the spread of the virus.
 
According to the research work published in the magazine Environmental Science & Technology, led by Professor of Sensor Technology at Cranfield University Water Science Institute, Dr. Zhugen Yang, a system capable of detecting biomarkers in the faeces and urine of disease carriers that enter the sewer system exists. "In the case of asymptomatic infections in the community or when people are not sure if they are infected or not, the detection of community wastewater in real-time through paper analytical devices could determine if there are COVID-19 carriers in an area to enable rapid detection, quarantine and prevention” says Dr. Yang in that study.
 
But how is this detection achieved? Through rapid test kits that use paper-based devices that could be used in wastewater treatment plants. In them, sources would be traced and it could be determined if there are possible carriers of COVID-19 in local areas. In fact, this system has already been used to effectively track illicit drugs and obtain information on health, diseases and pathogens. Dr. Yang has developed a device similar to the one used for this purpose on paper and has successfully tested it in rapid veterinary diagnostic tests in India and blood malaria in Uganda.
 
 
The paper device is folded and unfolded in steps to filter out the nucleic acids of the pathogens from the wastewater samples. Thereafter, a biochemical reaction with pre-loaded reagents detects whether nucleic acid infected with SARS-CoV-2 is present. A green circle indicates positive and a blue circle, negative: simple and fast.
Having this system would enhance the reaction and intervention capacity to restrict the movements of that local population in which the presence of the virus was detected so that the spread of the pathogen could be minimized and it could not become a serious threat to the health system.
All in all, the COVID-19 crisis has emphasized, among many things, the important need for a good water distribution and sanitation network. Both to supply and to prevent. 
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