Wastewater could provide up to a week of warning for a COVID-19 spike

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 05:10 in Health & Medicine

Monitoring sewage for the coronavirus’s genetic material could give public health experts up to a week of warning before COVID-19 cases peak in an area, a new study finds. Scientists have found the coronavirus’s RNA in stool from some COVID-19 patients. Though it remains unclear whether the virus can be transmitted through feces, researchers have also detected coronavirus RNA in raw wastewater. Because most people don’t get tested for the virus until they begin to get sick, and some may never develop symptoms (SN: 4/15/20), researchers are considering using sewage to look for early signs that the virus has hit a community. In Connecticut, the amount of the virus’s genetic material in sewage peaked a week before the number of cases in one region did, researchers report in a preliminary study posted May 22 at medRxiv.org. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 hit their highest point three days after RNA levels did. Sign up for e-mail updates on the latest coronavirus news and research From March 19 to...

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