The Omicron variant present in Nova Scotia in mid-November

The Omicron variant presents in Nova Scotia in mid-November

MISE & Agrave; DAY

New data proves the presence of the Omicron variant in Nova Scotia wastewater even before it was identified in South Africa, the National Post reported on Monday. & nbsp;

In an email to the media outlet, professor and director of the Center for Water Resources Studies at Dalhousie University, Graham Gagnon, confirmed that “[his] team detected Omicron, in retrospect, in Nova Scotia wastewater in mid-November ”. He added that he and his team will have more information soon.

Recall that the first case of Omicron detected in the Maritime province was recorded on December 13, only a few weeks after its appearance in South Africa, on November 24.

The team of researchers is testing wastewater from the four main treatment plants in the province since December 2020. It has also tested those from student residences on the Dalhousie campus.

Mark Servos, professor and researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo, believes that this type of research could become a crucial tool in the detection of COVID-19 in the coming months as access to PCR tests grows. more and more limited. His lab currently monitors wastewater in the Peel, York and Waterloo regions of Ontario.

“As Omicron continues [to spread], the wastewater will respond by rising or falling. and that's what's going to help educate politicians, ”Servos explained.

The researcher explains that his team were able to see how quickly each variant became dominant in the province. “Alpha took a few months to gain the upper hand, Delta took a month and a half and Omicron took almost two weeks,” he said.

End of subsidies in Quebec

In Quebec, the CentrEau-COVID project led by researchers from Polytechnique and McGill University was testing wastewater from the Montreal and Quebec regions, but Santé Quebec decided to stop to subsidize it, while the Omicron variant made its appearance in the beautiful province.

According to one of the coordinators, Dominic Frigon, the project was underway during the third wave of the pandemic while the number of cases in Montreal did not change drastically. However, in Quebec City, the number of cases was increasing rapidly and research shows it. “Because the data was relatively new, we had difficulty explaining their relevance to Public Health,” explained Mr. Frigon, adding that we would have a better picture of the pandemic situation in Quebec if the researchers could still test sewage.

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