CLIMPATHIC - Strategy for genomic surveillance of pathogens in wastewater

Last updated on 23-5-2024 by Laura Van Poelvoorde
Project duration:
January 1, 2024
December 31, 2025

In short

Climate change impacts the spread of pathogens that pose a threat to public health. This project aims to develop tools for genomic surveillance of these pathogens in wastewater. By prioritising key pathogens and using advanced detection methods, preparedness for emerging diseases in the context of climate change will be enhanced. The goal is to improve the surveillance capacity, enabling quicker and more effective diagnostic responses to safeguard public health.

Project description

This project aims to address the critical intersection of climate change and pathogen surveillance, recognising the significant impact of changing environmental conditions on the spread of diseases. This project focuses on wastewater as a valuable monitoring tool of pathogens. These tools offer a novel approach to address the gap in surveillance systems for (re)emerging pathogens in the context of climate change. 

Therefore, Sciensano, in collaboration with Institut Pasteur Cambodia and Institut Pasteur New Caledonia, proposes to develop genomic surveillance tools with a pilot study focussing on the norovirus and dengue. This project has following objectives:

  1. Pathogen prioritisation and database construction: We will conduct a comprehensive literature review to identify and prioritise pathogens influenced by climate change. Moreover, we will construct a database using whole genome data from these pathogens 
  2. Development of detection strategies: We will develop and evaluate detection strategies at three levels. First, we focus on (RT-)qPCR and (RT-)ddPCR methods to be able to detect and quantify the viruses in wastewater. Secondly, we develop targeted sequencing approaches which will allow the characterisation of the pathogen until its strain level and gather information on the vaccine escape or virulence genes. Finally, we explore metagenomics approaches to allow the detection of any type of pathogen. 
  3. Application of methods on wastewater samples: We collect wastewater samples from diverse locations and the developed methods will be applied to detect and analyse the norovirus and dengue. 

The results of this project will address the gap in surveillance systems of pathogens linked to climate change by offering tools for early detection, characterisation and monitoring of diseases in the context of changing environmental conditions. 

Service(s) working on this project


Myrielle Dupont-Royzeyro
Thibaut Objois
Erik Karlsson

Associated Health Topics

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