[Hamilton Spectator] Flushing out COVID: McMaster University will test sewage in a bid to uncover campus outbreaks

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.

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Brighter World: McMaster researchers study use of wastewater to track coronavirus

McMaster University’s Brighter World news page recently published an article outlining the objectives and current progress of the COVID-19 Wastewater Consortium of Ontario.

Excerpt

Researchers at McMaster University are investigating how municipalities across the province could begin to test raw sewage for the coronavirus and quickly identify outbreaks.

The wastewater system of Ontario may provide new insights and a non-invasive approach to detect the community spread of COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges facing public health experts.

There are more than 400 municipal wastewater treatment plants in Ontario and many more non-municipal wastewater plants—all running a unique sewage system—and researchers hope to collaborate with each of them, but the initial plan is to begin with 30 to 40 plants as well as private labs, and will include First Nations communities, villages and remote communities. Their goal is to build a consortium of municipalities, labs and health professionals to develop a strategy that could be applied to every city, township and village.

Read the entire article on McMaster’s Website>>

TVO: Sleuthing in sewage to track down COVID-19

Hamilton scientists Zobia Jawed and Gail Krantzberg say that the new COVID-19-tracking project they’re running at McMaster University relies on a “bottom-up” approach. That’s in reference to the fact that the effort relies on forming partnerships across the province, but it can also be taken another way: the professors want to develop an Ontario-wide method for detecting the novel coronavirus in municipal sewage systems. “This is just an amazing project to look at, because it’s different,” Jawed says. “It’s unique.”

Read more on TVO

Hamilton Spectator: Flushing out COVID-19: Will sewage testing help track pandemic outbreaks in Hamilton?

Hamilton residents could soon help flush out COVID-19 outbreaks with every trip to the loo.

The city is eyeing two different experiments — including one pitched by McMaster University researchers — that would test sewage flowing into the Woodward treatment plant to measure spikes in coronavirus infection.

It turns out pandemic poo could be an early warning system for fresh COVID-19 outbreaks in cities.

Read more at the Hamilton Spectator