Wastewater Surveillance: Helpful in the Pacific for COVID-19 Response and Beyond?

Events

Wastewater Surveillance: Helpful in the Pacific for COVID-19 Response and Beyond?

01 October 2021

Wastewater surveillance has been successfully used to monitor pathogen presence, persistence, and occurrence patterns within populations. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 has helped inform many countries’ public health responses. Across the Pacific, this technology has yet to be rolled out. With countries like PNG and Fiji experiencing outbreaks, it is essential to understand what wastewater surveillance entails, who needs to be involved, and the other considerations to assess the suitability of wastewater surveillance for the Pacific context. 

Globally, the successful use of wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 has involved solid partnerships between multiple sectors and disciplines, including a core group of water utilities, health departments, and environmental microbiology laboratories, supported by research organizations, universities, private consultants, and global collaborators. This webinar covered the following topics from different perspectives to show how each work together to provide a whole-of-government response. 

  • Health perspective – how health agencies to design and use wastewater surveillance to inform public health responses. 
  • Utility perspective – how utilities understand the sewerage system and identify where and how to sample from treatment plants, networks, buildings, and sites. 
  • Lab perspective – running a credible routine program to test the samples - expertise, experience, reagents, and equipment required.  
  • Pacific perspective - the needs and the challenges of the Pacific, particularly in areas with limited laboratory capacity or sewerage coverage.

Featured Speakers: 

  • Rachael Poon, Principal Scientist, Victorian Department of Health, Australia (health agency perspective) 
  • Dr. Monica Nolan, Principal Public Health Officer - Victorian Department of Health, Australia (health agency perspective)  
  • Tiffany Chen, Chemical Engineering Graduate – Sydney Water, Australia (utility perspective) 
  • Melody Lau, Scientist - Australian Water Quality Centre (lab perspective) 
  • Dr. Sudhir Pillay, Research Manager: Sanitation - Water Research Commission, South Africa (discussion around what technologies will work in the Pacific, particularly areas with limited laboratory capacity or sewerage coverage) 
  • Marlene Hsu, Research Manager - Water Research Australia (Q&A session facilitator) 
Program and Learning Materials: 
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
01 Oct 2021 Presentation Materials:Wastewater Surveillance: Helpful in the Pacific for COVID-19 Response and Beyond?
This presentation gives an overview of how wastewater surveillance has been successfully used in monitoring and informing countries' public health responses...
Rachael Poon, Tiffany Chen, Melody Lau, Sudhir Pillay
01 Oct 2021 Panel Discussion Monica Nolan; Jayant Bhagwan; Daniel Deere;
01 Oct 2021 Questions and Answers Facilitator Marlene Hsu

Disclaimer

The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.