Could smart toilets lead the way for COVID-19 tracking?

Because SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in wastewater systems, a commentary published March 30 in Nature suggests that smart toilets may be a good public health strategy for detecting and tracking COVID-19 cases. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms are a primary indication of COVID-19 infection, and the virus can be detected through fecal testing. Smart toilets would leverage this through their integrated stool collection and analysis kits that could inform users of a positive result within minutes. 

Alongside helping track and monitor COVID-19 cases, the toilets could also aid in research about how COVID-19 rates and infection time correlate with stool samples. 

"We envision passive toilet-based sampling and testing as a key strategy in advancing precision health-based diagnostics by tapping into the wealth of information contained in urine and stool, which has been too frequently flushed away," writes the Stanford School of Medicine authors, led by T. Jessie Ge, MD.

 

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