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EURECAT – Fast-track COVID-19 detection in wastewater

EARTO Innovation Awards 2021 – Impact Delivered Category


Scientific studies highlight that untreated wastewater is an important indicator of virus circulation in a population. In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, individuals infected with the virus, are both symptomatic and asymptomatic. A valuable tool to complement and strengthen the clinical and epidemiological surveillance of COVID-19 would thus be to detect RNA in wastewater.

Innovation: EARTO Member Eurecat developed the SarsAigua, in collaboration with Catalan health authorities (ASPCAT), water authorities (ACA), University of Barcelona (UB) and ICRA, a genetic detection program which tracks the spread of COVID-19 in wastewater treatment plants. It is available through a software platform, consisting of data homogenisation, continuous research on genome regions correlations as well as data systemic exploitation, being integrated with clinical and socioeconomic data.

Impact Delivered: SarsAigua contributes to the control, minimisation and prevention of COVID-19, identification of emerging variants and preparation of upcoming epidemics. It also offers a sewage surveillance of over 80% of the incoming wastewater of the Catalan population. SarsAigua transformed the way health authorities make real-time decisions during coronavirus waves by providing information on how viruses circulate among social communities.

More information about this innovation

Eurecat is the main Technology Centre in Catalonia, Spain. Its multidisciplinary and multinational team of 600 professionals work in some 160 projects of applied R&D.