UCSD Report on COVID Virus ‘Spikes’ Unprecedented in San Diego Wastewater

Electron microscope image of the new strain of coronavirus. Courtesy of NIAID-RML

An “unprecedented” spike in COVID-19 viral loads in wastewater collected from a major San Diego County wastewater treatment facility was reported Saturday by UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

The amount of COVID-19 virus detected in wastewater predicted the region’s COVID-19 loading capacity up to three weeks before clinical diagnosis reports, the researchers said. Because people with COVID-19 shed the virus in their stool even before they have symptoms, sewage screening serves as an early warning system.

“The wastewater screening results reported Friday are unlike anything the team has seen before,” said Jackie Carr of UC San Diego Health. Both Delta and Omicron variants of the virus were detected in wastewater.

“This confirms previous county reports that Omicron was here and circulating in our community,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer.

“This is the steepest curve for viral loads we’ve seen since we started screening wastewater in the summer,” said Rob Knight, a professor and leader of the wastewater screening team at UC San Diego. summer 2020 and it keeps getting worse faster than ever. of Medicine. UCSD Report on COVID Virus ‘Spikes’ Unprecedented in San Diego Wastewater

Dais Johnston

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