Is the coronavirus pandemic in a new acceleration phase? In Germany, 600,000 people have just been reconfigured following the appearance of a major contamination outbreak in Europe’s largest slaughterhouse. In Portugal, inclusion has recently been restored in part of the city of Lisbon. This disturbing context, combined with signs of general relaxation of the French population in light of the barrier measures, makes the Academy of Medicine fear that a local resumption of the epidemic will appear.
To avoid the worrying scenario of a summer reconfiguration and a dreaded second wave, the National Academy of Medicine just made proposals.
Intensify screening in risk communities : companies, health institutions, slaughterhouses, housing for people in precarious situations … “by making the best use of resources currently available for RT-PCR screening”.
Invoke a sense of responsibility, to maintain compliance with barrier measures and wearing the mask, even during the summer months. In particular, by conducting an information campaign with young people to remind them that by protecting themselves they protect the people around them.
But also strengthen epidemiological surveillance across the territory by implementing a wastewater management program “designed to locate communities that maintain the circulation of Sars-CoV-2”.
The idea may be surprising, but the type of monitoring was already approved in early April by a dozen research groups around the world that started analyzing wastewater as a way to measure the total number of Covid-19 infections in a community, as reported the journal Nature.
Indeed, wastewater analysis is a good way for researchers to monitor infectious diseases excreted in the urine or feces, including the coronavirus. This analysis can reveal the presence of Sars-CoV-2 even if there are no significant signs and symptoms.
“Routine wastewater monitoring can be used as a non-invasive early warning tool to alert communities to new COVID-19 infections,” said Ana Maria de Roda Husman, an infectious disease researcher at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment. The institute has already monitored wastewater to monitor the progress of measles cases. Monitoring viral particles in wastewater could give health authorities a head start on the epidemic and allow them to establish a community within two weeks before deciding to remediate a larger proportion of the population.