A wastewater-based epidermiology solution in response to COVID-19

The Challenge

The magnitude of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK population naturally triggered a huge, national response comprising a wide range of targeted and far-reaching government interventions aiming to bring the situation under control as quickly and safely as possible. Servita was engaged via the Home Office’s Accelerated Capability Environment framework to support a particularly innovative intervention.


The Solution

The Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection department (part of JBC/UKHSA) rapidly set up a pioneering wastewater-based epidemiology operation as a direct response to the COVID-19 threat.

Data was being generated by laboratories from wastewater samples taken from various geographical locations with no way of conveying the geospatial importance of that data in terms of prevalence, population and risk to residential and/or working populations.

Servita specialists designed and developed a platform hosted on AWS (EC2) and comprising complex data-pipe ingests (PySpark), QGIS, Qlik Sense with secure distribution monitored using CloudWatch. The solution is called Epi-Ops Control Centre. Servita specialists interrogated datasets including land usage to derive transmission-risk heatmaps.

Within the pressures and confines of the national WBE programme, Servita also looked to leverage the Databricks partnership with our US partners to run Bayesian Differential Modelling (PyMC3) for quick sunode, GLEAM spatio-temporal dynamics to provide insights into potential communication of COVID-19 and mobility of potentially asymptomatic spreaders.

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A wastewater-based epidermiology solution in response to COVID-19