The Ministry of Education and Research plans to provide the University of Tartu with a grant of nearly €870,000 for the launch and implementation of a COVID-19 early warning monitoring system based on wastewater analysis.
An early warning monitoring system would include regular baseline monitoring in all Estonian county centers and cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. Also, risk monitoring at up to 70 most critical sites, including international connection points: Airport, port, bus station, border crossing points and selected local sites, and accurate monitoring of the positive signal in case of significant deviation from the baseline.
In several countries, such as the Netherlands, France, Australia and Italy, after testing samples of wastewater it was determined coronavirus had been present in the country for longer than previously known.
The cost of the system is €868,121. It would be granted to the University of Tartu as a targeted subsidy for science and development activity which could also be used for drug monitoring in the future.
In Estonia, drug monitoring of wastewater has not been piloted so far, but it is possible. In this case, the cost of additional analyzes to test the appropriate methodology in Estonian conditions and to assess the presence and concentration of drugs is added to the study. The cost of collecting the samples would not change significantly.
Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright