KWR involved in global COVID-19 wastewater monitoring effort

KWR Water Research Institute is helping develop the Wastewater SARS Public Health Environmental Response, or W-SPHERE, a global centre for data and public health ‘use cases’ on SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. This online data repository and the global map is now open for access and sharing across the globe. W-SPHERE is part of the Global Water Pathogen Project, or GWPP, a resource on pathogens supporting sanitation and safe water and promoting quantitative information via monitoring of sewage, faecal sludges and freshwaters to inform public health measures.

In collaboration with Michigan State University, University of California Merced, and Venthic Technologies, KWR has developed W-SPHERE as part of a larger wastewater surveillance project led by PATH, a global health non-profit. “Our ambition goes beyond presenting the wastewater data; we want to showcase how these data can support public health around the world,”  says Gertjan Medema, Principal Microbiologist at KWR and Distinguished Hannah Visiting Professor at Michigan State University.

W-SPHERE is an interdisciplinary team of environmental virologists and public health specialists, as well as engineering professionals. They visualise global data on dynamic maps, on a worldwide and country scale, with options to zoom in regionally at a spatial level while protecting the facility’s anonymity. The maps enable the assessment of the spatial and temporal trends of SARS-CoV-2. In over 2,691 cities and counties worldwide, scientists and utilities are monitoring wastewater for SARS-CoV-2, or have communicated that they will be setting up for monitoring soon. The goal is to continue to grow the W-SPHERE, adding more public databases in the next six months.