South Africa
Overview of research project
The concept of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been used extensively for the detection of drug use patterns and disease incidence from a population perspective. Recently researchers have proposed SARS-CoV-2 sewage-monitoring plan as a form of an early warning system. It can have an important effect on health systems; facilitate informed decisions on movement restriction for the local population, especially in resource-constraint countries like South Africa. Therefore, the research will focus on using wastewater-based epidemiology to determine COVID-19 infection hotspots and develop an early warning system to detect changes in infection levels within the community in South Africa more specifically in KwaZulu Natal province. However, this concept still requires development and optimization to make it applicable. Globally, quantitative reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard for the detection of COVID-19 in clinical and wastewater samples. The research undertaken will use Droplet Digital PCR which is a novel and more sensitive approach to detect relatively low copies of viral RNA from wastewater.
Specific objectives to assist in the achievement of this main aim are;
1. To develop a sensitive and accurate method for the detection and quantification of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in wastewater
2.To observe the dynamics of infection levels through the monitoring of viral loads in wastewater.
Name of researcher/developer
Faizal Bux
Primary organisation
Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology
Opportunity type
Self-funded (e.g. from own or institutional resources)
Stage of development
Research in progress
Collaboration partner
Department of Water and Sanitation
Umgeni water
Research Category