Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are at the forefront of a group designed to track wastewater data so it can be used in COVID-19 response initiatives by public health policymakers.
They will be working with researchers from the New York Tandon School of Engineering, Stanford University and the University of Notre Dame, according to a UWM release.
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The group will track and interpret the presence of SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - in sewage treatment plants. Monitoring the concentration of the virus in wastewater has the potential to be more of an indicator of a potential hotspot than individual testing.
The goal of the collaboration, which will focus both on sample collection and analysis and also data interpretation, is to get information and context into the hands of public health officials so they can act on it.
The project is supported by a $250,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
It’s an extension of the translational work being conducted by a group including the University of Wisconsin’s Sandra McLellan, a professor in the School of Freshwater Sciences.
Through all of the studies, the groups strive to create a “startup blueprint” for municipalities to implement in monitoring sewage treatment plants across the country so local and state officials can use the information in disease surveillance for COVID-19 and potentially other diseases.