How UNLV researchers can use sewage to help inform public health policy

Jan 18, 2022

Edwin Oh, an associate professor at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, was among the first to discover the omicron variant in Clark County.

He examines manholes — and in them, the wastewater and first sewage samples that captured omicron one week before the county reported its first human case of the highly transmissible variant on Dec. 14.

Oh leads the wastewater surveillance program at UNLV, where he found omicron displacing delta in the wastewater in up to 9 out of 10 infections. The virus is shed in human waste, like fecal material, making sewage from humans a prime place to observe the virus and its variants.

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