SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary municipal sewage sludge as a leading indicator of COVID-19 outbreak dynamics
Doug E. Brackney,
Nathan D. Grubaugh,
Edward H Kaplan,
Amyn A Malik,
Joshua L Warren,
Daniel M. Weinberger,
Saad B Omer
Posted 22 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.19.20105999
Posted 22 May 2020
We report a time course of SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary sewage sludge during the Spring COVID-19 outbreak in a northeastern U.S. metropolitan area. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in all environmental samples, and when adjusted for the time lag, the virus RNA concentrations tracked the COVID-19 epidemiological curve. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations were a leading indicator of community infection ahead of compiled COVID-19 testing data and local hospital admissions. Decisions to implement or relax public health measures and restrictions require timely information on outbreak dynamics in a community.
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