ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced that a team from the University of California at Irvine will guide understanding of the factors affecting the detection and variability of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater (Project 5093). The UC Irvine research team is led by Dr. Chenyang “Sunny” Jiang, professor and chairman of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. This project was identified as a high priority research need at the recent WRF International Water Research Summit on Environmental Monitoring of COVID-19 Indicators. In addition to the WRF funding, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funding to support this project.
The main objective of this study is to optimize the sampling design in order to capture SARS-CoV-2 signals in wastewater (sewage and wastewater) in the best possible way so that the detection and quantification of signals both as an early warning of COVID-19 outbreaks and as an indication of the severity of the epidemic in may serve the community. The research team will base its study on the wastewater collection and treatment systems in the County of Los Angeles. This location has the advantage that the detection, variability and dynamic range of SARS-CoV-2 genes can be assessed in the various scales required for the project. The project has started and results are expected by September 2021.