Chicago lab tracks COVID-19 through wastewater

A University of Illinois Chicago lab has been tracking COVID-19 in the city's wastewater and sharing the results with local public health agencies, according to WTTW.

The virus can be detected in wastewater even if people haven't been tested or don't know they're sick. 

The lab — which is partnered in the endeavor with the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Argonne National Laboratory and the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health — has been testing Chicago's water for the virus twice per week since last year, according to WTTW.

The lab expects to expand its testing to sites across Illinois by the new year.

After the COVID-19 threat diminishes, the same water testing process can be used to look for other viruses, as well as bacteria and pharmaceutical traces like opioid metabolites, according to the WTTW report.


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