It may be gross but it could be an effective tool in this pandemic fight.
Wastewater could be an early warning system of COVID-19 spread
Researchers are tracking the spread of coronavirus in an unusual way by analyzing what goes down our toilets.
With the struggle to get widespread testing scientists are trying to find ways to understand just how hard COVID-19 has hit the United States. They do know that the virus can be found in human waste so they are turning to wastewater surveillance.
That's not really a new idea. It has been used for years in developing countries to look for outbreaks of things like polio and in the U.S. it was recently used to track opioid use in different communities. Now the CDC is looking at using wastewater testing to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
But researchers across the globe have already started doing that, and what they have found could be helpful. Since the virus shows up in human waste days before the typical patient shows any symptoms it can serve as an early warning system for a community.
It also could alert cities that are reopening if they are seeing a spike in cases.
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