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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

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.