NewsHealth / June 19, 2020

Carmel Testing Wastewater for COVID-19

Carmel Testing Wastewater for COVID-19

Some Indiana counties are examining wastewater samples to detect COVID-19 - this can help determine the number of residents who have the virus.

Courtesy of CDC

Some Indiana counties are examining wastewater samples to detect COVID-19 - this can help determine the number of residents who have the virus. John Duffy is director of Wastewater utilities in Carmel Indiana - which is working with Boston-based epidemiology research company Biobot.

“They have developed a model that they can take the virus concentration, model that or extricate that out and define what they believe are the amount of people who actually have the virus and are shedding it through their stool,” Duffy says.

Most people who have the virus don't show symptoms, and Duffy says the stool testing method may help pinpoint infection clusters.

“We’re looking very strongly at pulling samples out in the sewer collection system. Meaning to pull a sample at a given manhole location, that a single building discharges to that manhole,” Duffy says. “So you’re basically sampling the waste stream from that building and the amount of people that are in that building so what you’ve done is you’ve narrowed down by sampling at a given manhole, you can narrow that down to that building.”

Future research will include sending samples to Notre Dame University, to study spikes and declines of the virus.

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