Omicron in Canadian wastewater reveals surface — Action News Now

Scientists in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia said they had started detecting the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in local wastewater before it was officially discovered in South Africa in late November.

Last week, Professor Graham Gagnon, director of the Water Resources Research Centre at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, told CBC they found Omicron in wastewater samples in early November.

“We were surprised to see the virus signal in early November. Only in retrospect can we see that it was a variant, not the original,” He said. The cases were identified as Omicron on December 13 and linked to the Covid-19 outbreak at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish.

The Omicron variant was officially finalized in South Africa in late November.

The director of research said he was surprised to discover the virus in November because students in the dorm were vaccinated and those who were tested came back negative. The results were passed on to university officials who warned students, he said.

“For us, it was a successful project,” Gagnon told CBC, adding: “This is a tool that can be used to help make decisions. “

Since December 2020, Dalhousie researchers have been testing wastewater for signs of the deadly virus at four major wastewater treatment plants in Halifax and five student residences on the Dalhousie campus.

Although Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, it survives longer in the gastrointestinal tract than in the respiratory tract. Therefore, wastewater testing can be a useful tool for monitoring its prevalence.

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