McMaster is among the first Canadian universities to implement a tracking system on campus to identify coronavirus in raw sewage, which could serve as an early warning sign for any outbreaks and inform future reopening plans.
On Wednesday September 16th, Dr. Zobia Jawed presented to the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) Virtual Conference for British Columbia and Yukon based water and wastewater operators and management.
She shared McMaster’s vision for collaboration across Ontario and beyond to establish a system-wide approach to tracking community-level coronavirus spread through wastewater analysis. Several BC and Yukon based groups were interested in exploring how they can collaborate with the McMaster-based initiative.
We look forward to seeing more cross-province partnerships in this program.
To see the conference program and other speakers, read more on the 2020 EOCP brochure!
Dr. Krantzberg explains the many benefits of a community-wide test using wastewater, and explains the objectives of the program in the short and long terms.
No matter how many COVID-19 tests are done, current methods suffer from severe limitations. Governments struggle to capture accurate COVID-19 infection rates of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals, delaying public health responses. Cutting edge global and domestic research confirms that COVID-19 can be reliably detected in the feces of affected individuals including those with mild to no symptoms – an area where clinical tests fall short.
A broad wastewater testing system may be able to constantly test and accurately report on the spread of disease within communities to address a crucial need not only for the current pandemic, but for future outbreaks.
You can read more about our approach to building capacity in Ontario for sustainable wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 in our first newsletter.