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Coronavirus Pandemic: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urban wastewater is detectable again

At the levels of the last days of April 2020, that is, when strict austerity measures were still in place to limit coronary heart disease, records the concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome in the municipal wastewater of Thessaloniki………. in the most recent sampling, in the context of research conducted by an interdisciplinary team of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in collaboration with the Water and Sewerage Company of Thessaloniki (ΕΥΑΘ).

According to the measurements of the AUTh team, after about three weeks in May 2020 undetectable presence of the virus in wastewater, The virus has been around since the beginning of June 2020 and then. The latest virus concentrations recorded are equivalent to the values ​​at the end of April 2020 ,when the quarantine was in place. Due to the seriousness of the development, the AUTh team proceeded with repeated analyzes in all the samples of June 2020 with the same results.

The temporal evolution of the presence of the virus in the sewage of Thessaloniki, as reflected in the measurements of AUTh, is not in line with the calm clinical picture in the city hospitals and so the scientists estimate that the number of asymptomatic or moderately symptomatic cases in the population of the city that do not need hospital care has increased significantly.. This view is in line with the recent international picture of the evolution of the virus, B.C. in Italy and Spain. The AUTh team has informed the competent authorities of the Greek State about these findings since Thursday 18 June 2020.

The AUTh team monitors the concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome in the liquid waste at the entrance of the Thessaloniki Wastewater Treatment Plant (EELTH) taking measurements three times a week, using the rationalization methodology (rationalization) of measurements, which is applied for the first time to sewage and is based on advanced physicochemical models that assess inhibitions or alterations in the detectable amount of the virus from dissolved or scattered substances in the sewage.

"AUTh will continue together with EYATH to systematically monitor the presence of the virus genome in wastewater as an indicator of the level of virus spread in the population with the aim of timely - within 24 hours- scientific information and support of the Greek State in making critical decisions to deal with the pandemic in order to prevent a possible outbreak of the virus before there is an increase in cases in hospitals ", said the rector of AUTh, throughout. Nikos Papaioannou, announcing that "with the support of the Region of Central Macedonia we will be able to extend the measurements beyond Thessaloniki, in wastewater samples from tourist destinations and large hotel units in Central Macedonia ".

The interdisciplinary team of AUTh - Department of Medicine (Head Prof.. E. Roilidis, Prof. A. Papa-Konidari, Prof. S.. Metallidis), Veterinary Medicine (Head Prof.. N. Papaioannou), Biology (Head Prof.. M. Arsenakis, Assist. Prof. D. Dafou), Pharmaceutical (Head Prof.. Th. Sklaviadis), Of civil Engineers (Head Dr.. M. Petals), Spatial Planning and Development Engineers (Head of Assoc. Prof. S.. Stylianidis), Chemistry (Head Prof.. Th. Karapantsios) proposes the operation of the National Center for Sewage Epidemiology Reporting for the monitoring of the virus, for the utilization of the under construction database and wastewater samples at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in the event of a possible recurrence of the pandemic next autumn.

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