On 8 June 2020, a laboratory situated in Hilton, KZN (where the first South African case of COVID-19 was identified) became the first contract laboratory in Africa to deliver results for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from sewage as part of a commercial virus risk forensic service.
As more testing is done and the national database grows, sewage can be used to tell where COVID-19 hotspots are, making it possible to monitor the total viral load in the country’s wastewater treatment works.
This information can be used to focus intervention by public health officials.
The service is available to the government and the private sector immediately.
There has been interest in this technology from a range of role players in North America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and the South African government.