Wastewater testing has been shown to help determine the prevalence of COVID-19 and its variants within a given population. That’s why researchers at Western University are applying its province-wide wastewater testing process to an international study that aims to determine its viability for detecting COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries.
The study focuses on six international locations where human waste does not end up in a water treatment plant. Researchers on the ground collect samples and ship them to the Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation (ImPaKT) biocontainment facility at Western for analysis.
The samples are then examined for evidence of SARS-CoV-2, while researchers at ImPaKT can also sequence the RNA to identify which variants are circulating in the population and determine the presence of new and emerging variants.
Through the results of the wastewater testing, public health authorities can identify which populations and geographic areas to target for vaccination campaigns to help increase immunization rates.
For more information, visit Western University.