Researchers from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University take part in an international project of investigating the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in urban space. The study, coordinated by the international MetaSub consortium, has been discussed in the prestigious magazine Wired.
Kraków is among 17 cities that collect microbiological samples from public places as part of the project described in the article 'Microbe Mappers Are Tracking Covid-19's Invisible Traces'. The material from Kraków has been both analysed locally and sent to Prof. Chris Mason’s lab in New York, where it will be studied together with the specimens from other cities.
Scientists from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology will soon start to thoroughly analyse the acquired data in collaboration with their partners from the MetaSUB consortium. The aim of the study is to better understand the dynamics of the virus transmission in urban spaces, which can be useful in protecting city inhabitants at early stages of epidemics.
Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology is the national coordinator of the MetaSUB consortium and a co-founder of the MetaSUB Europe. The consortium creates molecular profiles of cities all over the world, focusing on public transport systems, which provide a space of increased interaction between individuals. Little is known about the dynamics of microbiome and metagenome of such surfaces as handrails and ticket machines. Investigating this issue can provide information important for the protection of both individual and public health.
Each year, the MetaSUB organises the global City Sampling Day, which takes place on the first day of summer, when samples are taken in over 100 urban centres all over the world, mainly from public transport vehicles and infrastructure. From this year on, Kraków will also participate in this project.