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OMICRON: How Colorado tracks wastewater to detect COVID variants

DENVER (KDVR) – With another case of omicron variation found in Colorado, the problem solver wants to better understand how the state is looking for it.

While variants have been detected through PCR samples for positive patients to date, the state is also looking at our waste to track it.

The state has so far found omicrons in two different people who recently traveled to South Africa, but once the strain reaches the community, the state plans to find it through water.

“Basically, wastewater facilities are providing samples of wastewater, which is water from homes and buildings and that includes wastewater,” says Rachel Jervis, CDPHE, Food and Waterborne Disease Program. feces. “They are sending that lab to our partners at CSU and then we look for RNA, the genetic material of COVID in that wastewater, and then we look for genetic signatures of the variable. body.”

The state will not see these types of samples from every county. CDPHE said there are currently only 21 participating utility companies.

The state says it is trying to attract more people, but for now, it serves as a good partner for traditional PCR sampling.

“We consider our wastewater monitoring program as a supplement to our clinical monitoring process. So we’re really, from wastewater, not trying to identify individuals. We use it to identify trends in the community. Now, in the future, we plan to do the monitoring at the building level,” said Jervis.

They say they are looking to partner with more schools and state prisons. Meanwhile, they are teeming with omicrons.

“You know, we were in an informal race to see if we would find this in humans or sewage first and this time, we found it in an individual first. But our lab is actively looking for omicrons in wastewater, and we predict that we will find it very soon,” says Jervis.

The state says PCR and wastewater samples do not compete. Instead, they use both to make sure the data from both is consistent with what’s happening in the community.

https://kdvr.com/news/problem-solvers/how-colorado-is-watching-wastewater-to-spot-covid-variants/ OMICRON: How Colorado tracks wastewater to detect COVID variants

Emma Bowman

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