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Sewage Sampling

What gets flushed away may help cities brace for an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Verge reports.

New Haven, Connecticut, and Carmel, Indiana, have been taking samples from their sewage systems to send off for analysis for traces of SARS-CoV-2, it adds. New Haven's samples are taken to Yale University for viral analysis, which the researchers say have been able to detect an upswing in SARS-CoV-2 viral loads about a week ahead of an increase in patient cases. "So it could be an early warning," Yale's Jordan Peccia tells it.

Carmel is similarly sending samples to a biotech company called Biobot for analysis, though city officials tell the Verge the turnaround has been slow and they may switch to a more local group. The company notes at the Verge the delay was due to it initially being a free service.

The Carmel mayor, Jim Brainard, says he hopes to publicly report those numbers, it adds. Additionally, he wants to be able to focus the analysis on particular buildings. "Then if we saw a spike in that building, we could get everybody in that building a test within a couple days, find out who's spreading it, get the quarantine started, and do the contact tracing," he tells the Verge.

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.