Researchers in the Argentine province of Córdoba have found traces of the coronavirus Delta variant in the sewage network, it was reported Monday.
Infectologist Hugo Pizzi explained that the province's Health Ministry together with the José María Vanella Institute of Virology detected sequencing of the Indian strain in the provincial capital's sewage effluents.
Local virologists found remnants of the Delta variant in the wastewater that flows into the Bajo Grande sewage treatment plant, 25 kilometers from the city.
Pizzi explained samples were available there because the coronavirus is eliminated through feces. The virus is always in the stool, so the Chinese began to do anal swabs because the virus persists longer in the rectum.
He also warned that, whenever possible, people should not share the toilets.
The specialist also insisted that circulation of the Delta variant within the province was under control after a Bolivian national who eventually died of COVID-19 skipped isolation upon arriving from Peru and mingled with members of his social circle thus spreading the highly contagious strain.
Now “everything could be isolated very well and apparently there are no risks, Pizzi went on.
There are 78 confirmed cases of the Delta variant in Cordoba territory, which has already caused two deaths, that of the traveler and that of a woman who was in close contact with him.
Experts agree that the most recent findings showed the strain was advancing in Argentina, but it is not a clear sign that it has become dominant.
The virus is already sequenced and detected in its new variant, but that does not mean that we have an epidemiological explosion. It is something to take into account, but it is not a major concern at the moment. It is even logical because the virus is eliminated through fecal matter,” Pizzi elaborated.
Studies in the sewage network became an epidemiological tool during this pandemic in several countries. Similar monitoring carried out in Israel showed that the detection of a variant in the sewers herald what is observed days later in the population. They are also held in Chile, Spain, the United States, France and the Netherlands, among other countries.
In fact, analyzes of sewage fluids in China, Spain and Brazil showed that Sars-Cov-2 was already circulating several weeks before the initial outbreak in Wuhan, in late 2019.
According to what has happened in other countries, when the Delta variant reaches 1 to 5 percent of all infections in a region, it takes between 3 to 4 weeks to become the dominant variant (50% of cases) and 6 to 8 weeks to represent 90 percent of the cases.
In countries with good comprehensive vaccination coverage, the Delta is causing a new wave of cases but with low mortality and hospitalization.