RIVM hopes to approach this in different ways. Not only through sewer measurements, but also using Nivel Sentinel stations, a network of nearly 140 general practitioners who send out samples each week to see which diseases are prevalent. However, rarely anyone comes up with complaints, so very few samples come to the test.
Two weeks ago, the weekly return in the Netherlands was 47 samples, only one of which was positive for corona. Very little close monitoring of how the coronavirus is spreading in the Netherlands.
Hospitals find new variables
In major cities there is a group of researchers who, in conjunction with GGD, have developed a system for rapidly detecting corona variants. Using a special technology, the Amsterdam UMC can analyze positive tests for GGD within 24 hours that variants are changed.
Since the elderly and the frail in particular are still being tested, that alone doesn’t give you a representative sample, molecular microbiologist Marcel Jungs admits. “Fortunately, we’re also testing a lot of our healthcare staff, young, full of life. This allows you to predict how the virus will spread.”
Samples from Jonges Laboratory show that the BA2 omikron variant prevalent in the Netherlands now accounts for only 69 percent of all infections in Amsterdam. The variant is increasingly being replaced by the BA4 and BA5 variants that crossed from South Africa. Last week it was 15 percent, this week it’s 17 percent. According to Jonges, this is not a cause for concern, as the variants do not look more disgusting than the original variant omikron.
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