Researchers at the University of Louisville are working with Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District to determine if areas of COVID-19 infection can be tracked by testing wastewater.
As part of community testing for Phase II of the Co-Immunity Project, MSD is providing samples from eight sites in its vast network of pipes and five treatment facilities which are sent weekly to UofL and research collaborators at Arizona State University for virus analysis.
The laboratory at ASU will use RT-PCR tests, a technique for detecting genetic material of the virus, to count copies of SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA in the wastewater and sewage sludge samples. The researchers believe the presence of this RNA sequence is an indicator of the level of infection with the virus in a given community.
To support this work and other aspects of the Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19, UofL has received a new $1 million gift from the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation.