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Veolia, IAGE, and Phytocontrol detect and quantify the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in France

A new step has been taken with Veolia's Vigie Covid-19: after the detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 variants, this method can now detect the Delta variant.

In January 2021, to respond to health challenges, Veolia created and developed Vigie Covid-19 in France. This is an early warning system for the presence of traces of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and its variants in wastewater which makes it possible to monitor the circulation of the virus in an area, including people who have not been tested or who have no symptoms. A sample is taken on entry to the wastewater treatment plant to detect and quantify the presence of variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

To achieve this, Veolia has joined forces with two partners:
the Montpellier company specialising in environmental biological analysis, IAGE, which uses the digital PCR method. Deployed in less than two weeks, this method quantifies one variant among those described by GISAID, which shares data on pathologies to be monitored worldwide; and Phytocontrol which manages the logistics of transporting samples in France.

New today: after the British, Brazilian, and South African variants, IAGE can now quantify the presence of the Delta variant, thereby contributing to the fight against the spread of Covid-19.


     Since the launch of Vigie Covid-19 with Phytocontrol and IAGE, we have adapted the device to the specificities of the various variants, the markers of which are developed from the information contained in the GISAID database. Digital PCR technology allows us to have excellent quantification reliability, assured Philippe Sébérac, Scientific and Technological Director at Veolia.

     The IAGE R&D team holds the promise of being responsive to the emergence of new threats associated with the appearance of variants. The Delta variant has been under surveillance since its publication on GISAID. We immediately built a system capable of detecting it and we will continue to do so as necessary, confirmed Franz Durandet, Chairman of IAGE.


Founded in 2017, IAGE specialises in environmental biological analyses, with one objective: obtain early, precise, and reliable results. At the interface between technological developments resulting from research and the needs of stakeholders in the field, it offers concrete solutions.

Serving water and food safety, the Phytocontrol laboratory deploys a range of contaminant analyses intended for all operators in the Agriculture, Agri-food, Water, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, and Phytopharmaceutical sectors.