Population Health

February 10, 2021

UW research team works to detect COVID-19 in wastewater

Image of a researcher examining a water sampleA team of University of Washington researchers are examining wastewater samples to identify and monitor COVID-19 infections on a community level.

By measuring the amount of viral RNA and comparing it to the number of molecules usually present in human waste, researchers can determine the approximate percentage of people with COVID-19 in a community.

The new method acts as an efficient and cost-effective strategy to detect positive cases in a neighborhood. It holds the potential to account for asymptomatic people, reach vulnerable populations, and track the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in the future.

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