Utah scientists to test sewage to see if it can reveal rates of coronavirus infections

Apr 21, 2020

Swabbing noses and throats may not be the only way to detect the breadth of the coronavirus in a community.

Sewage, it turns out, may provide answers as well, and Utah scientists are eager to launch a pilot project to find out.

If the project bears fruit, it could help determine the rates of COVID-19 infection in particular communities and perhaps provide early warnings for new outbreaks, according to Erica Gaddis, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality.

“We are about to launch a pilot with eight wastewater treatment facilities and three universities to try and determine whether it has utility," Gaddis said. "We don’t know if we will be able to use the data in a way we want, to correlate the date with infections on a community scale. We aren’t there yet.”
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