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Sewage and SARS-CoV-2

EU Sewage Sentinel System for SARS-CoV-2

Wastewater reflects in an unbiased manner the biological, chemical and physical impact of human settlements on water used. During the Covid-19 pandemic, wastewater monitoring revealed itself as a useful, complementary and independent, objective approach to COVID-19 surveillance and testing strategies.

Following the publication of the EC’s Recommendation of 17 March 2021 on a common approach to establish a systematic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewaters in the EU, wastewater-based surveillance activities in Europe gained significant momentum and established a pan-European Community of Practices brought together under the EU Sewage Sentinel System for SARS-CoV-2 (EU4S).

The Digital European Exchange Platform for SARS-CoV-2

To ensure that the results of the wastewater surveillance are promptly shared by electronic means and used jointly, the European Commission set up the Digital European Exchange Platform for SARS-CoV-2 and its variants (DEEP).

DEEP focuses on:

  • gathering and sharing best practices, from Member States and beyond;
  • collecting results from wastewater surveillance activities;
  • publishing and regularly updating sampling and analysis methods;
  • creating a voluntary list of experts involved in waste water surveillance and disease prevention and control using wastewater surveillance;
  • organizing a collaborative environment, promoting the intercalibration of approaches and sharing of best practices.

To do so, it collects and displays the data received in a harmonized dashboard, partially open to the general public. In future, a broader surveillance going beyond public health is envisaged in particular, to inform on the results of the monitoring in wastewater of emerging pollutants, pathogens, drugs, pharmaceuticals, micro plastics, consumption of antimicrobials, antibiotic microbial resistance, to name but a few.