Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Germany has been able to contain Sars-CoV-2 for the time being. However, the return to normality entails the risk of new waves of infection. In order to monitor the occurrence of infection, researchers from the Department of Wastewater Engineering at TU Darmstadt will develop a new concept in the coming weeks and months in cooperation with Stadtentwässerung Frankfurt, which will make it possible to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses at selected points in wastewater. The aim is in particular to help the health sector in containing the spread of the virus through early detection of new sources of infection.
The project with the title “Intelligent use of wastewater flows – wastewater as an early warning system for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 using the example of Frankfurt am Main” is the first wastewater project on the topic of Coronavirus in Hesse.
The analyses in wastewater are aimed at realising a practical, easily implementable method for monitoring for SARS-CoV-2, and to test and establish this concept directly on the example of a large city such as Frankfurt am Main with travel hubs such as the main railway station and airport. Of particular interest here is Frankfurt Airport, where, in addition to quantitative detection of virus concentrations, virus genomes are also to be sequenced in order to generate epidemiological information on the origin and mutations of the virus from the airport's wastewater samples, thereby learning more about its spread and propagation routes.