The coronavirus has been detected in the wastewater of Massachusetts at levels higher than expected, suggesting that there would be many more patients who were not diagnosed as what was estimated by the authorities.
The researchers of the “start-up” biotechnology Biobot Analytics have collected samples in a wastewater treatment station of a metropolitan area that has not been identified at the end of the month of march, according to a report published Tuesday on the website medRxiv.
Eric Alm, one of the authors of the study, which has not yet been the subject of a review by other researchers, has emphasized that the public is not at risk of contracting the virus from particles in the wastewater.
However, the measure of the presence of the virus in the wastewater helps to understand the potential for spread, reports Newsweek.
“Even if these virus particles are no longer active or able to infect humans, they can still carry the genetic material that can be detected using an approach called PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which amplifies the signal genetics of several orders of magnitude, creating billions of copies of the genome for each virus of departure,” says researcher Eric Alm.
The researchers, in collaboration with a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, analyzed the samples.
According to their data, they have estimated that nearly 2300 people were infected by the virus at the time of the levies, while officially, only 446 cases were confirmed.
The researchers have shared their findings with the local health authorities, who have said that it was plausible that there are hundreds of cases not detected.