Today’s number two story

Published April 27, 2020

How can you find where the coro­n­avirus is spread­ing with­out going door to door? Test the poop, of course. Not indi­vid­u­al­ly, but in the com­mu­ni­ty wastewater.

Around the world, sci­en­tists are detect­ing rem­nants of the virus in munic­i­pal sewage. Sampling our stool could offer a faster and cheap­er way to pin­point where out­breaks of COVID-19 are brew­ing before scores of peo­ple become seri­ous­ly ill, they argue. This tech­nique also picks up virus bits that were “shed” by peo­ple whose mild or asymp­to­matic infec­tions often go unnoticed.

The most impor­tant quote: “We can actu­al­ly mea­sure hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple with a sin­gle sample.”

The most amus­ing quote: “You get infor­ma­tion that can­not be pro­duced by any oth­er means.”

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