FACSA, a Grupo Gimeno company specialising in water cycle management, and the Eurecat technology centre are continuing to innovate in developing digital solutions which enable epidemiological analysis and monitoring through wastewater.

FACSA has recently taken a further step forward in its TRACKER project, an environmental monitoring platform to combat Covid-19 which is evolving into predictive mode as a result of its teamwork with Eurecat. The new geospatial predictive model’s smart monitoring solutions use wastewater as a source of information to identify any change or increase in the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA traces, the virus that causes Covid-19.

This initiative is especially important at a time of low Covid-19 incidence in Spain where communities have very low concentrations of the virus’s genetic material in their wastewater. This is because sustaining such a heightened level of surveillance without resorting to direct detection methods is a huge advantage and eases the pressure on public health surveillance systems.

Eurecat’s Lleida-based Applied Artificial Intelligence unit has tapped data analytics methods drawing on machine learning and anomaly detection to determine the virus’s presence in the geographical areas under analysis, predict its incidence trend and spot possible outbreaks. This enables the implementation of an innovative early detection tool designed to warn public agencies and drive better situation management for the benefit of the public.

The TRACKER digital platform will become available in early 2022. Alongside geospatial data it also features useful variables on mobility and socio-demography in the study area coupled with its meteorology. It further provides updated information on the local, national and European epidemiological position. This initiative, which can be tailored to other potential public health risks such as antimicrobial resistance and other emerging pathogens, places FACSA at the forefront of wastewater-based environmental monitoring.

FACSA kicked off the TRACKER initiative last April and it is one of the 18 projects selected out of a total of 135 under the European INNO4COV-19 funding programme.

The €6.1 million INNO4COV-19 project is committed to supporting the commercialisation of new products across Europe for combating Covid-19 by driving innovative solutions in four main fields ranging from medical technologies to environmental monitoring solutions. TRACKER was the only project selected in the first call.