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Right There in the Sewage

Scientists in the UK are monitoring sewage there for signs of COVID-19, which could provide early warnings of possible viral hotspots, the Guardian writes.

According to the Guardian, the Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection Program opened a new lab outside Exeter to test sewage for SARS-CoV-2. Samples from wastewater treatment plants from around England arrive there each morning for testing, it adds, noting that the analysis isn't precise enough to say how many people in a region may have COVID-19 but gives a general idea of whether case numbers are going up. This, the Guardian notes, can inform decisions to boost community testing.

"It is like taking a stool sample from a collective bowel," James Trout, who oversees the lab, tells the Guardian.

In the US, wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 has similarly been adopted by some cities and universities.

The Guardian adds that the approach could further be expanded to monitor for SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as for other infectious diseases like influenza or norovirus.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.