According to the article from 22nd of April 2020 published on The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) website, THL has started to collect water samples from Finnish wastewaters to determine the presence of COVID-19. This project is a cooperation between The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the University of Tampere.

As it is stated on the agency’s page, the research held in the Netherlands, the United States and Australia has reported the possibility of measuring the coronavirus  genome in untreated waste water, which, however, does not indicate the viability of the virus or its ability to become infected. The samples of water will be taken from different sewage plants around Finland.

Scientists believe that the study of samples from treatment facilities taken at regular intervals allows you to track changes in the prevalence of coronavirus by city. The same principle is used to monitor the prevalence of drugs in human settlements.

“By a standard COVID-19 test it is possible to tell whether a person has a coronavirus infection, a wastewater research reports how widespread the virus is present in relation to the population in different municipalities,” says Tarja Pitkänen, Senior Researcher at THL. 

Together with antibody testing and individual coronavirus tests, sewage screening gives a better general picture of virus spreading. The real-time monitoring of wastewater starts from beginning of June.

“The usage of drugs in cities is monitored by studying wastewaters. The same methodology has already been used to monitor the prevalence of different viruses”, says Teemu Gunnar, Head of the Forensic Toxicology Unit at THL.

There is no threat to drinking water in Finland caused by coronavirus, report THL. The methods are used for drinking water treatment kill all viruses effectively.