Greek University Team Creates Platform that Detects Coronavirus in Real Time



A National Technical University of Athens team was awarded in a European Commission competition for creating a platform that uses sewer surveillance for early COVID-19 detection.

The Greek team collaborated with students from the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom and participated in the #EUvsVirus Hackathon, a European Innovation Council initiative.

The NTUA team was among the six who were awarded for Sewers4COVID, their sewer surveillance platform for early virus detection to help decision-makers direct resources where they are most needed (‘Other’ category).

“It was the result of the work of a team who work together for a long time,” NTUA professor Maria Papadopoulou told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency. “This is why we were able to come to a solution so fast.”

“The field of our research is water management and in general the most efficient management of resources, whether it is water or energy or land. In this context, we knew that there are studies by microbiologists who have detected the virus in sewage samples,” the professor explained.

“By using these studies, which are available to the scientific community, we thought we could build a “smart” system based on the findings at the entrance to the wastewater processing plant that would tell us in which areas there are people who have been ill but without showing any symptoms,” she added.

Participants from 141 countries competed and a total of 117 innovative solutions to tackle the virus were selected.

Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

“The #EUvsVirus Hackathon brought together people in 141 countries and many different areas of expertise from across the EU and the world, united in their desire to offer their time, talent, and ideas to help find solutions to the coronavirus crisis.”