April 23, 2024

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“Failure” of COVID-Era Air Travel Measures Revealed Through Plane Wastewater Testing

“Failure” of COVID-Era Air Travel Measures Revealed Through Plane Wastewater Testing
Airplane Lavatory Toilet

A the latest study has revealed that just about all airplanes landing at three big airports in the British isles in the course of the COVID limits analyzed favourable for SARS CoV-2 in their wastewater.

Virtually all planes arriving at a few British isles airports all through a period of COVID constraints had the SARS CoV-2 virus in their wastewater, in accordance to freshly posted investigate.

Just about all planes arriving at 3 United kingdom airports for the duration of a period of Covid limitations had the SARS CoV-2 virus in their wastewater, in accordance to recently posted investigation. The virus was also identified in wastewater at arrival terminals.

Bangor College experts, who pioneered the use of wastewater screening to monitor SARS-CoV2 in the Uk, wanted to obtain out irrespective of whether wastewater tests could be used as a way of checking the general overall health of travellers on flights coming into the region in upcoming. The examine was funded by the UK’s Overall health Protection Agency and is released in PLOS World-wide Community Well being.

The crew analyzed the rest room tank water taken from prolonged haul and brief haul flights coming into the United kingdom at Heathrow, Edinburgh and Bristol airports over a three-7 days time period amongst 8-31 March 2022.  Samples have been also gathered from sewers connected to the arrival halls in the airport terminals and at a wastewater treatment method plant in the vicinity of each airport.

The pre-departure test and a day 2 post arrival test to prove their Covid status. But the researchers found little difference in the concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater before and after that date.

Professor Davey Jones from Bangor University’s School of Natural Sciences, said,

“Despite all the intervention measures that the UK had in place to try to stop people with the illness getting on flights to the UK, almost every single plane we tested contained the virus, and most of the terminal sewers too. That might have been because people developed symptoms after testing negative; or were evading the system, or for some other reason. But it showed that there was essentially a failure of border control in terms of Covid surveillance.”

Earlier research by the team may explain why. In a poll of 2000 adults, 23{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of respondents admitted that they had previously boarded a flight back to the UK while feeling ill. That survey also asked respondents about their toilet habits on flights, and found that 13{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of individuals catching a short haul flight would be likely to defecate on the plane; with a higher proportion seen in long haul passengers, at around 36{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of the total. Based on this information, together with Covid shedding rates, the team estimated that if wastewater sampling was set up at airports  in future, it could capture 8-14{6932ee47e64f4ce8eedbbd5224581f6531cba18a35225771c06e4f1b3f0d9667} of SARS-CoV-2 cases entering the UK via air travel.

The researchers believe wastewater sampling could form part of a future infectious disease surveillance system for the UK. Future sampling could also pick up other infections, such as  Norovirus or Enterovirus, potentially giving a clearer picture of what pathogens are entering the country.

Researcher Dr Kata Farkas said: “This is about getting an overall picture to help UK health systems to be prepared, or, if possible, have an advance warning, of emerging diseases. It wouldn’t be feasible to test every flight arriving, but taking wastewater from arrivals at a single airport terminal used for long-haul arrivals may provide an estimate of diseases entering the country.”

She added: “At the moment we have no idea how many people come into the country carrying different diseases, partly because no one wants to be tested on the spot. Wastewater monitoring gives us a snapshot of the infectious diseases passengers may carry upon arrival.”

Reference: “Wastewater-based monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 at UK airports and its potential role in international public health surveillance” by Kata Farkas, Rachel Williams, Natasha Alex-Sanders, Jasmine M. S. Grimsley, Igor Pântea, Matthew J. Wade, Nick Woodhall and Davey L. Jones, 19 January 2023, PLOS Global Public Health.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0001346