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Low levels of coronavirus in wastewater in major cities

Low levels of coronavirus in wastewater in major cities

Recently, Sweden’s Public Health Agency sounded the alarm about how the number of coronavirus cases could increase, although levels are low. The assessment is that the situation will continue to deteriorate for some time to come.

But based on virus levels in sewage, there are still no clear signs that the spread of COVID-19 is gaining momentum in any of Sweden’s three largest cities.

– We are a little higher than we were before because we saw a slight increase three weeks ago. But the past few weeks have been stable without spikes, says Zeynep Cetsioglu Gurul, senior lecturer and researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), about virus levels in Stockholm.

Virus levels in wastewater It was an early indicator during the pandemic about the direction in which the infection is spreading. In Stockholm, the project, which is being implemented by KTH together with SciLifeLab and Stockholm Water and Waste, is led by Zeynep Cetecioglu Gurol.

Zeynep Cetecioglu Gurol is one of those who analyze water samples at the Royal Institute of Technology.

Photo: Fannie Jung Staley

Compared to last summer, when levels in Stockholm were so low they could barely be measured, virus levels rose slightly during the fall. However, there is still a good distance from what the spread of the infection looked like this spring, according to Zeynep Cetecioglu Gurol.

same style It can be read in Malmö Рwhose samples KTH also analyzes Рand in Gothenburg where Helen Norder, professor of microbiology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, works.

Helen Norder describes that measurements during large parts of the fall followed a baseline with weekly results sometimes showing slightly higher levels of virus and sometimes slightly lower levels of virus. Two weeks ago, the amount of virus in the wastewater rose slightly – something that Helen Norder was worried.

– Then I thought that now we see what everyone is talking about as the contagion increases and that the curve will continue to go up. But in the past week the number has gone down instead, so we have a reassuring message from Gutenberg, she says.

Bromma treatment plant is one of the places in Stockholm where water samples are taken to find out the amount of coronavirus.

Bromma treatment plant is one of the places in Stockholm where water samples are taken to find out the amount of coronavirus.

Photo: Beatrice Luneburg

Based on the latest The result was cautiously positive.

– I’m so far away that we don’t seem to have an upward trend. Because although we see that there are spreads, we are talking about low levels. We cannot see in the waste water that there will be a large spread in Gothenburg.

In Sweden, more than 10 cases of the new variant omikron virus have been reported so far. However, the extent to which omicron is excreted through feces, and thus can be traced via wastewater, remains unclear.

– If it spreads as much as the other variants have, we don’t know yet because it’s very new. You have to keep that in mind, says Helen Norder.

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