Dr Andrew Engeli, program manager at the Joint Biosecurity Center, said the program had “successfully found evidence of Covid in communities of around 14,000 people where only one or two people tested positive.”
He said scientists could make estimates from the amount of Covid seen in the sample, but that would be compared to work done by the testing and tracing system and by Public Health England.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We can compare it with the number of people who could test positive in this community. We were able to detect a very small number of cases in fairly large communities. “
Asymptomatic cases of people who are not showing symptoms of Covid and who may not yet have appeared in the test and trace data, according to Dr Engeli can also be detected.
He told the program, “We can find this in the sewage systems and then pass that information on to the health protection teams. Then, they take over and make the range of interventions and support at the local level. ”