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Monitoring of viruses in wastewater enables the course of a pandemic and its burdens on various parts of the health-care sector to be predicted, independently from official public testing capacity and scope for infection tracking. This has been established in a study from the University of Gothenburg.

The measurements and analyses of coronavirus levels in the wastewater of Gothenburg attracted a great deal of attention during the pandemic. The weekly reports have shown both how widespread SARS-CoV-2 infection is in the community and its distribution among variants of the virus.

Beginning in February 2020, the virus measurements taken in the monitoring rapidly became a useful indicator for forecasting load peaks in health care. High concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in the wastewater were followed by rising numbers of people with COVID-19 needing hospitalization.

The association emerges with striking precision in the study now published in the scientific journal iScience. Each of the four pandemic waves in 2020-2022 exhibits a pattern in which, within a couple of weeks after SARS-CoV-2 peaked in the wastewater, a rise in the number of newly admitted hospital patients with COVID-19 ensued.

Increased pressure on 1177 Vårdguiden

The virus peaks in the wastewater were followed not only by heavier burdens on inpatient care, but also by predictable increases in pressure on the 1177 Vårdguiden e-service. One to two weeks after a wastewater virus peak, provigil prescription price more calls were coming in about acute breathlessness in adults.

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