Coast Reporter in British Columbia included wastewater testing, which is moving forward in Ontario, B.C., and Nova Scotia, in a roundup of 5 programs tackling COVID-19 in Canada.
Read the full article on CoastReporter.net
Wastewater testing for the virus will provide useful information from Redeemer’s campus, which is currently open to students, staff and faculty, but not the general public.
While McMaster’s research project is tracking COVID-19 via wastewater to support its re-opening plans, collaboration with Redeemer is expected to provide useful information from a campus that is already open to students, faculty and staff, but closed to the general public. The project will provide Redeemer with specific and regular data about the presence of the virus on campus, serving as an early warning system and allowing for the implementation of remedial measures as necessary.
Researchers at McMaster University are ramping up a wastewater testing program designed to quickly detect and track COVID-19 in raw sewage which could serve as an early warning sign for current outbreaks and future pandemics.
While existing clinical tests can identify affected individuals with precision, researchers say wastewater testing is a cost-efficient and quick means to identify the virus and can be narrowed down to identify specific neighborhoods and communities.
“We know COVID-19 can be reliably detected in feces of affected individuals including those with mild to no symptoms, which is an area where clinical tests fall short,” says Gail Krantzberg, a professor at the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, who is working with colleague and wastewater expert Zobia Jawed on the research project.
“A broad wastewater testing system allows us to constantly monitor, test and accurately report on the spread of disease within communities, which would include nursing homes, schools and universities, to address the crucial need not only for the current pandemic but for future outbreaks,” she says.
With support from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), researchers plan to test samples three times a week and report results within 24 hours to public health agencies in a number of municipalities which include the City of Hamilton, Niagara Region, Haldimand County, Norfolk County and Oxford County. Several universities across Ontario are working with the province on the program.
McMaster University will try to flush out future COVID-19 outbreaks by testing campus sewage — and it hopes to help other cities do the same.
The university will start testing sewage at 13 different spots across the west Hamilton campus as part of an “early warning” COVID-tracking strategy designed by its own wastewater experts, Gail Krantzberg and Zobia Jawed.
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.
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.
Gail Krantzberg and Zobia Jawed discuss the objectives of wastewater analysis with CTV News’ Angie Seth
Watch the video clip on the CTV News website.