Wastewater Monitoring Offers Powerful Tool for Tracking COVID and Other Diseases

Mar 4, 2022

In 2020 experts at the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and other public health agencies watched a presentation that many thought was impractical at the time. Several companies proposed to regularly sample wastewater from sewers and treatment plants and run tests to detect SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19. People excrete the virus in their waste, and the companies suggested that tracking levels of its genetic material, or RNA, in sewage over time would provide a quick glimpse into whether the virus was rising in an area days or even weeks before a surge in patients with COVID.
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