For several months now, Veolia has been offering its expertise in monitoring the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewater treatment plants. The Group developed VIGIE COVID-19, aimed at detecting SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater by the RT-qPCR method and is today extending the scope of its offer with VIGIE COVID-19 PLUS to track and quantify variants. Veolia is working in collaboration with two expert entities:
• IPMC - joint Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université Côte d'Azur (UCA) research unit – is sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 genome in wastewater in order to identify variants,
• IAGE - a Montpellier-based company specializing in environmental biological analysis - in association with the laboratory Phytocontrol, is quantifying variants using a digital PCR method. With this, Veolia and IAGE have become the first environmental players in France to quantify variants in wastewater.
These tools are able to establish a detailed and low-cost map of the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewater, thereby providing crucial indicators in fighting the spread of Covid-19.
Philippe Sébérac, Veolia's scientific and technological director: The IAGE and Phytocontrol teams with whom we have been collaborating since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis are recognized for their expertise and scientific excellence. Thanks to this partnership, Veolia, IAGE and Phytocontrol are taking another step towards achieving an accurate and cost-effective map of the circulation of the various SARS-CoV-2 mutations. This will help to provide local authorities with a new public indicator covering the prevalence of mutations and the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 variants - an essential tool in fighting the spread of the epidemic and the presence of high-risk mutations.