Searching Sewers for Covid Traces

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli Health Ministry is going underground in an effort to locate new outbreaks of coronavirus with cutting edge precision.

The Ministry said on Tuesday that it plans to expand pilot program started in 2020 that used the latest technology to ferret out the virus in municipal sewage systems in Yerushalayim, Binyamina, Beersheva, Kfar Saba and Netanya. The next phase will include population centers of more than 20,000 people nationwide, where monitoring will be conducted twice weekly, according to The Times of Israel.

The scientists involved claim that their system enables them to identify outbreaks down to specific neighborhoods and streets in some neighborhoods.

The project is the work of Kando, a wastewater intelligence and data firm, with researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, as well as Sheba Medical Center’s virology lab.

They use a network of sensors, autosamplers, and controllers under manholes in cities, and apply original algorithms and artificial intelligence to analyze the data. This allows health authorities to monitor latent morbidity and detect possible upcoming waves of infections by geographical location, the company said in a statement Tuesday.