The University of Hong Kong sewage surveillance project involving HKU-Pasteur research teams will extend its screening capacity after successfully uncovering hidden COVID-19 carriers in two housing blocks in Hong Kong. Standard operating procedure are finalised to trigger mandatory testing of all residents in a block if sewage checks reveal two consecutive positive results or two positive results over three days.
Sponsored by the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) under the Food and Health Bureau, this project allowed the collection of more than 300 domestic sewage samples from sewage collection systems in different areas for nucleic acid tests of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Since the beginning of the project in October 2020, the team has been able to demonstrate that sewage surveillance could provide early warning of COVID-19 outbreaks, reflecting the overall spread of virus in the community. It also helps tracking the development trend of community outbreak.