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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

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.