DEKALB — Northern Illinois University is expanding COVID-19 testing efforts into what some might consider an unexpected place: wastewater.
Dr. Barrie Bode was the longtime chair of NIU’s Department of Biological Studies. Now he has a new title he could have never anticipated: director of COVID-19 facilities.
Partnered with the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District, Bode is building a lab and assembling a team to implement a new component in the university’s surveillance testing plan.
“Wastewater testing is literally taking samples of wastewater from different access points. And assay the wastewater for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” he said.
Those “access points” are mostly residence halls, as well as neighborhoods around the university where a lot of students live.