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Sewage Surveillance Finds Spread in France

Testing of sewage in France suggests COVID-19 is spreading quickly in Lille, Marseille, and Strasbourg, Reuters reports.

A number of municipalities and even college campuses have turned to sewage testing to track where there may be an uptick in COVID-19 cases. For instance, Chicago has adopted the surveillance approach, as have Maryland, New Haven, Connecticut, and Carmel, Indiana, as well as the University of Arizona. The goal of testing, the Chicago Tribune noted at the time the Chicago effort was announced, is to home in on spots where an outbreak is imminent and prepare the healthcare system.

In France, the Obepine network monitors nearly 50 wastewater stations for signs of SARS-CoV-2, Reuters says. It reports that viral levels of samples from Lille, Marseille, and Strasbourg are reaching the levels they were at in early November, before the second lockdown. Viral levels in sewage from Paris, meanwhile, have been fairly steady, it says.

According to Reuters, Vincent Marechal, a Sorbonne virologist and co-founder of the Obepine network, says the findings indicate a more regional approach to handling SARS-CoV-2 may be needed.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.