Investigating viral diseases requires a holistic approach to the epidemiologic triad: the agent, the host, and the environment. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) or environmental surveillance (ES) has been an effective tool to assess viral transmission at a community level, especially for polio and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. It can provide information on virus circulation and give data on the extent of the outbreak. In addition, ES can be used as an early warning system for a community’s impending surge of cases.
ES for SARS-CoV-2 has potential in countries where traditional clinical testing in human samples is not feasible at a large scale, like the Philippines. Asymptomatic infections and the high rates of vaccination coupled with hesitancy to seek medical consult make human-based surveillance a challenge. This study will help establish a proof-of-concept for WBE as a complementary tool for COVID-19 detection using the Environmental Surveillance for the established Polio network in the Philippines.
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