Coronavirus Pilot Detection System


Early this year, some reports from Italy suggest that the first outbreaks of the virus, SARS-CoV-2 could be traced to the city’s drainage system. The virus was detected in sewage waters in December while Italy reported its first case of coronavirus in February, this means that the virus was surviving in the waters for two months.

This theory has led Israeli to start a pilot project aimed at detecting Covid-19 outbreaks by studying the city’s drainage system. This system was initiated by Kando, a big data solution firm that believes that using its technology,includingvast network of sensors and algorithms it will be able to predict future Covid-19 cases and pinpoint which neighbourhoods will develop virus clusters and become hotspots for the virus. Their main aim is to act as a surveillance system to manage early outbreaks of the virus andinform municipal authorities to take further steps such as reimposing social distancing measures and lockdowns. The use of a surveillance system has another plus point as it is an effective means of control rather than getting the community tested for Covid-19 randomly until a vaccination is brought to the market.

Kandos team includes researchers from different organisations from Israeli and university graduates. The pilot study is aimed at the coastal city of Ashkelon even though this city has the least cases of Covid-19, the sewage waters does contain significant remnants of the virus in real-time.

“Identifying traces of the coronavirus in city wastewater is extremely challenging due to the various types of substances found in sewage systems, including industrial wastewater, which can dilute or destroy remnants of the virus, but this technique has potential” said professor Nadav Davidovitch, director, School of Public Health at Ben Gurion University.