26 august 2021, 14.00 to 17.30: WEBINAR – Poop tell no lies, Progress and developments of WBE surveillance in South Africa

In order to contain this fast-spreading pandemic rapid action is critical, and preparedness measures must outpace the rate of transmission. Due to resource limitations, developing countries may not be able to afford mass-screening programmes to identify new infections. Surveillance of wastewater offers an opportunity for near–real-time outbreak data and has potential utility as an early warning for resurgence of the outbreak. To date, the wastewater-based epidemiology approach has been successfully piloted in developed countries where there is wide coverage of waterborne sanitation, such as the Netherlands, France, United States of America, etc.

The concept of screening municipal wastewater and environmental water quality as an epidemiological tool for viruses is not a new concept, and has been used to help inform broader infectious disease epidemiological surveillance and mitigation efforts such as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Environmental surveillance has also been used and recommended for other infections, such as typhoid, early warning of hepatitis A and norovirus outbreaks, as well as for antimicrobial resistance, with modelling techniques used to assist both the design and interpretation of those efforts. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is also commonly used in the surveillance of licit and illicit drugs and various chemical contaminants which may impact human health.

The science and research community under the auspices of the SACCESS network has made significant progress in the detection, quantification of the SARS COV-2 virus, as well as foray into determining the emerging variants. This is further supported by extending the WBE activities to monitor other emerging issues and compounds of concerns. The objective of this session is to share knowledge on progress which has been made to date in South Africa.

Draft Programme

Chair – Natacha Berkowitz

Session 1: Introduction
5minsWelcome remarks – Natascha Berkowitz ( CoCT)
15 minsTowards a national WBE platform – Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa (WRC)
15 minsAn overview of qualitative and quantitative testing of wastewater for SARS-CoV 2 from inception to date from the SACCESS network partners – Nkosenhle Ndlovu (NICD)
Results of whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater – the surveillance network of the future. – Said Rachida (NICD)
15 minsFeedback from DUT surveillance – Isaac Dennis Amoah
15 minA     passive      sampling      approach       to     trace       Covid-19     infection      in wastewater

networks from student campus residences – Edward Archer (Stellenbosch University) and Dariah de Villiers (Lumegen Laboratories)

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