Mapping the spread of COVID-19 by sampling human waste in US sewer systems

Coronavirus

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WLNS) – A company that analyzes sewage to map population health wants to use its testing to assess the spread of novel coronavirus.

Biobot is collaborating with multiple Massachusetts researchers including MIT and Harvard to launch a program to map COVID-19 across the U.S.

“Patient testing is limited, we need more ways to track COVID-19,” says the companies website which is requesting sewage samples from wastewater treatment facilities across the US. “This data will be a critical addition to existing patient testing data to measure the scope of the outbreak and guide a community’s response.”

Studies show the virus causing COVID-19 is shed in feces meaning it’s collecting in our city sewers.

If successful, the data Biobot receives will give communities a dynamic map of the virus as it spreads to new places.

The team of biologists, epidemiologists, data scientists, urban planners, and engineers hopes the data can help measure the scope of the outbreak all the way to providing an early warning if the virus begins to reemerge.

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