Viral load in Thessaloniki sewage 50 pct up

The SARS-CoV-2 viral load in Thessaloniki sewage samples is showing a marked upward trend this week, according to measurements taken by scientists at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) in collaboration with the city’s water and sewage company, EYATh, AUTH rector and head of the project professor Nikos Papaioannou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Wednesday.

He said that after a month in which the viral load in the city’s sewage was low, the two last samples showed an increase of about 50 pct.

“We have seen a substantial increase in the rolling weekly average – a comparison of measurements taken on January 27, 29 and February 1 with those of January 20, 22 and 25 – but the feature that causes acute concern is found by observing the curve over a longer period, essentially from the moment when the epidemiological curve flattened. Comparing the average reading of eight measurements, from January 11 to 27, to the last two on January 29 and February 1, the increase observed in the viral load of the sewage is of the order of 50 pct,” Papaioannou said.

He also said that “the epidemiological picture of the sewage reflects the period since the opening up of social and economic activities, such as schools and retail commerce,” adding that it was also a repercussion of the congestion seen in the streets and gatherings that took place in the last 10 days.

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