As the world continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, governments around the world are looking for new and innovative ways to mitigate its spread. In January 2023, China began testing wastewater for Covid-19 and other pathogens in an effort to detect potential outbreaks before they occur. This decision is part of a larger push by Chinese officials towards greater public health monitoring that could help contain future epidemics.

The idea behind this strategy is simple: By collecting samples from sewage systems across China, researchers can identify traces of coronavirus particles or other infectious agents before they cause widespread illness or death. If detected early enough, authorities can take steps such as increasing testing capacity and contact tracing efforts in order to limit further infections from occuring within their jurisdiction.

In making their annoucement, Chinese officials cited a number of reasons behind their choice to test wastewater for Covid-19 from January 2023 onwards. They noted that such tests would be able to detect traces of SARS-CoV2 even before symptoms present themselves in infected individuals ¹. By doing so, any potential outbreak can be identified quickly allowing authorities time to act accordingly with preventive measures such as quarantine or contact tracing ². By monitoring wastewater samples on regular basis over time trends can also be identified which may provide insight ino changes within certain communities or regions ³.

This approach has been implemented successfully in several countries already; most notably Israel which began using wastewater surveillance back in May 2020 as part of their national pandemic response plan . Since then, it has proven effective at identifying clusters where infection rates have risen significantly faster than expected – allowing health authorities time to act accordingly.

While some may question whether this type of policy should be adopted on a large scale due to its cost implications – especially when resources are limited – many experts agree that it’s worth investing now if we want better preparedness against future outbreaks. Prevention is more cost-effective than treatment when dealing with viruses like Covid-19, meaning measures taken now could save lives down the line, as well as preventing the collapse of international economies.

Modern Water specialises in providing innovative solutions for the testing and monitoring of water quality and the detection of pathogens in wastewater. Modern Water uses advanced technology, including AI algorithims, to analyse wastewater samples and identify the presence of pathogens. This technology allows for rapid and accurate testing, making it possible to identify outbreaks earlier and with more precision than traditional methods.

Modern Water’s Microtox FX, LX and CTM instruments alongside the mobile Lab-in-a-Van and the AI technology that drives real-time results will play a massive part in the worldwide response and preparation for future possible pandemics. For more information about our wastewater testing services and products please visit


¹. Robert E., et al “Sensitivity Analysis Of WasteWater Surveillance For Early Detection Of COVID-19 Outbreaks” Water Research vol 175 2020.

². Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (

³. Huanan L., et al “Monitoring Community Outbreak Risk Through Wastewater Based Epidemiology During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Wuhan City, China.

⁴. Wastewater surveillance to infer COVID-19 transmission: A systematic review, Science of the Total Environment, Volume 804, 2022.

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