COVID-19 in SA | Wastewater samples predict fifth wave

The National Wastewater Based Surveillance programme screens municipal wastewater for viruses to help inform broader infectious disease control efforts. Jay Bhagwan has more. #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Wastewater samples in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, and the Western Cape are showing signs of sustained higher levels of the coronavirus.

The National Wastewater Based Surveillance programme screens municipal wastewater for viruses to help inform broader infectious disease control efforts.

READ: Covid-19 in SA | Experts say fifth wave has begun 

The latest signs suggest a new wave is here.

Jay Bhagwan, the executive manager of Water Use and Waste Management at the Water Research Commission, said: "What we've seen over the last few weeks is a sudden rise and a consistent rise in that RNA copies in the wastewater.

"And why it's useful is it picks up both the infected and the asymptomatic people in the community that are showing signs or have this virus infection. So technically what we've seen over the last three weeks is a 1-to-2 to a-3 log consistent increase in the RNA copies, and that tells you around 100-200 percent increase in numbers and that's a concern. And once we see that pattern it starts telling us that we're heading to a possible fifth wave very very soon."


Paid Content