New study: Sewage effluent poses a threat to re-eruption of the corona

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Sewage poses another threat to the re-emergence of the corona virusThis emerged today (Sunday) from a study conducted at the Institute of Water Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The researchers found that conventional sewage treatment does not eliminate the risk of the corona virus spreading and even recommended treating them beyond the usual treatment, in order to eliminate the virus inside sewage treatment plants.

Netanyahu’s remarks at the entrance to the Corona cabinet, credit: GPO

According to the study, most sewage in the Western world is purified by biological treatment and then released into the environment. In Israel, most sewage is also disinfected with chlorine and then settled for agricultural use. According to the researchers, during the first closure in April and during the second wave in July, sewage samples were collected that indicated the invention of the corona virus in the raw sewage and after the biological treatment. In one case, the genetic material of the virus was also detected at the exit of the purification facility after disinfection.

The study claimed that Corona virus is known to reach the effluent mainly through the feces of carriers. If these effluents are not properly treated and released to the environment, or used for irrigation they may infect people who come in contact with them. The risk is even greater for sewage workers and treatment plants whose exposure to sewage is increased. In addition, the researchers warned that The virus can infect and be preserved in wildlife and may create a more resistant mutation, Which can prevent the eradication of the plague.

Dr. Oded Nir, researcher at Ben-Gurion University (Photo: Danny Machlis, Ben-Gurion University)

“If we do not want to risk repeated waves of corona virus outbreaks, we must also neutralize wastewater,” says Dr. Oded Nir, the lead researcher at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University. “We see a clear need for proper wastewater treatment to minimize The risk of spreading the virus and infection. In all the cases we examined in which the properly treated effluent was chlorinated, the virus was no longer detectable. Hence, the solution exists and we must adopt it, “Nir concluded.

Dr. Nir is leading the research together with Prof. Ariel Kushmero of the Avraham and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, and alongside them the researchers: Prof. Zeev Ronen, Dr. Ido Bar-Zeev, Ella Abu-Ali, Karin Yaniv, Sanhita Chowdhury, Merillo Shaga and Stish Cacola.

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