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March 16, 2021
Sponsored by
Bio-Rad

The Predictive Power of Poop: COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance to Inform Public Health Decisions in Colorado

GenomeWebinar

Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology, Director, Molecular Quantification Core, Director, Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Program, Colorado State University

Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University

Chief Medical Research Officer, Colorado State University

Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) has been established as a viable, valuable, and cost-effective means to monitor infectious disease within a community. 

In this webinar, a team of scientists from Colorado State University (CSU) will describe their experiences building a successful wastewater surveillance system from the ground up for use as a state-wide system to monitor viral loads in wastewater. 

The CSU team worked with GTMolecular to develop and validate a method to concentrate and extract SARS-CoV-2 RNA from wastewater samples provided by wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) or collected from sewers on the CSU campus. Levels of SARS-CoV-2 are quantified using digital droplet PCR assays.

Using this method, the CSU team tracked trends in viral load over time for 21 Colorado WWTPs and connected this information to the area covered by each WWTP to inform public health decisions. They also monitored SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater from 20 locations, including CSU dormitories and off-campus shared living facilities. 

The CSU scientists will discuss how this micro-surveillance approach allowed scarce testing resources to be allocated where risk was highest, helped detect outbreaks early through directed clinical testing of residents, and identified targets for compliance efforts. 

They will also describe the interface of wastewater surveillance with university and local public health initiatives and speculate as to the future for WBE in detecting and curbing infectious disease outbreaks.

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