Marmara University's World Leading Research for Monitoring Covid-19 In Waste Water

Assoc. Prof. Bilge Alpaslan Kocamemi, Department of Environmental Engineering of Marmara University, has served as  Project Coordinator and scientific advisor in the research titled “ Monitoring for Covid-19 Spread by screening SARS-CoV-2 in Turkey’s wastewaters and sludges”, conducted under Turkey's Water Institute (SUEN) since April 2020. 

Within the scope of the project, the Covid-19 spread was determined with the analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the wastewater treatment plants of 81 provinces -  in all wastewater treatment plants in Istanbul- between April and June 2020.

The routine screening started in July 2020  in  Turkey constantly faced with negative results until the end of August 2020. This situation suggested that the gene region addressed by the primer used in q-PCR measurements was mutated. In September 2020, the measurements were started to be carried out in a healthy way with the primary change addressing another gene region of the virus. Mutation results, which are thought to occur in a specific gene region of the virus, will be clarified with the expected Next Generation Sequence (NGS) analysis.

22 pilot provinces were determined across all the regions of Turkey since September 2020.  In this context,  analyzes are carried out weekly in Istanbul and bi-weekly in other provinces. As a result of the analysis, virus loads for regional pilot cities are calculated and it is possible to quickly monitor the regional Covid-19 case spread using a color scale on the map. This follow-up allows the detection of case increases and decreases at least 4-5 days in advance.

During the COVID-19 pandemic process in our country and in the world, it will be possible to detect and early warning the regional intensity of the epidemic through the screening of wastewater. Thus, if the virus is found in high amounts, local quarantine applications and filtration studies can be performed. Collective Covid-19 screenings by wastewater are very important in terms of early warning in campuses with a high number of people such as university campuses, student dormitories, metro stations, airports, military units, factories.

In this context, Marmara University aims to be leading for other universities by conducting Covid-19 screening with SarsCov-2 measurements in its campuses and student dormitories in the process of face-to-face education.

You can reach the news and video links about the current developments of the study below.