Namur spin-off will track coronavirus in the country’s wastewater
Share article:
Share article:

Namur spin-off will track coronavirus in the country’s wastewater

© PxHere

E-Biom, a spin-off company of the university of Namur, is in talks with the federal health institute Sciensano to extend a pilot project they are currently involved in to trace the coronavirus via wastewater.

The current project concerns regular weekly testing of the wastewater in several large towns in Wallonia. Sciensano intends to extend that to the rest of the country, according to Céline Tellier, Walloon minister for the environment.

Tracking the virus SARS-CoV-2 through the sewers is a popular investigative technique these days. In July, the city and university of Leuven announced a pilot project to do just that. The project is led by Professor Bert Aertgeerts, who explained the purpose.

With wastewater analysis, we want to detect whether and to what extent infections occur in a certain area or population, even before this is shown by an increase in the number of people who test positive for Covid-19,” Prof. Aertgeerts said.

After all, some infected persons also have virus particles in the digestive system. Those particles are excreted and thus end up in the sewage.”

Because the sewage system is very well mapped, as well as being enclosed, is is possible to tell from samples at each collection point exactly where the wastewater came from. Fluctuations in the levels of virus can be an early indicator of a cluster of infections, before anyone involved feels the need to seek medical advice.

North of the border, the Dutch State Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) also announced this week it would be carrying out a weekly collection of samples for testing for the virus.

The RIVM started in April with a pilot project involving 29 measuring points, increasing to 80 in July. The programme will now be extended to cover the whole country.

The Namur-led programme, meanwhile, will start with an eight-week trial covering 16 measuring points in Wallonia, two in Brussels and 24 in Flanders.

Sciensano wants to work out which protocol to use – that in effect in Wallonia or the one used in Flanders, the difference being the gene used as a marker for the virus.

The objective is to confirm the protocol to be implemented at national level,” Tellier said.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...