On the Trail of the Virus
IAV has developed a methodology for deriving information on the spread of Covid-19 through intelligent evaluation of wastewater data. This enables a much earlier detection and more precise localization of infection foci.
In this project, IAV is cooperating with the Technical University of Berlin (Institute for Urban Water Management) and ORI Abwassertechnik GmbH, a leading manufacturer of automated samplers with remote data transmission for sewer systems. The TU Berlin is responsible for the sampling and analysis of the samples, while ORI GmbH supplies the samplers and measurement technology. IAV in turn provides the IT environment, is responsible for data analysis and evaluation and thus forms the bracket of the entire project.
The IoT Platform from IAV records – in strict compliance with legal data protection regulations – the publicly available health data of government offices and other public institutions as well as the data of connected samplers, evaluates these in real time and displays the results on a topographical and individually scalable map.
To identify where the samplers should be positioned in the sewerage system, IAV is investigating and testing the use of artificial intelligence based on a so-called Bayesian network. “With the help of initial sampling in the sewage treatment plant and sewer system, historical data on previous infection spreads and data on infection foci from human tests, the probability of positive samples at a specific point in the sewer system can be calculated,” says Pätsch. The aim is to take further samples in the sewer system, which is filled with thousands of inflows and outflows, at precisely those nodes that promise a high hit rate – and thus have a particularly high significance for the localization of an infection event.
«With our AI-supported method, we are able to achieve a meaningful result more quickly. This saves valuable time in the detection and localization of an emerging focus of infection.»
— Responsible for Business Development Water Management at IAV
The concept of the early detection system is currently in the implementation phase. The next step is the test deployment in a pilot project with individual cities or districts.
IAV is also setting up an early detection system at its Gifhorn site. IAV’s own PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test equipment is being used in this cross-divisional project. The rapid tests are already being used to carry out initial tests to determine corona RNA in the company’s wastewater system.