Dr. Edwin Oh is an Associate Professor in the UNLV School of Medicine and the Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine. This presentation from WEFTEC 2021 explores how the decline in diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 is expected to delay the tracking of COVID-19 variants of concern and interest in the U.S.
He hypothesizes that wastewater surveillance programs, which are agnostic to clinical testing, can provide an effective alternative for detecting emerging viral variants and assessing COVID-19 incidence. He analyzed SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations and genomes in wastewater from water resource recovery facilities and buildings across Southern Nevada and Arizona between March 2020 and April 2021. The data underscore the growing application of wastewater-based epidemiology in not only the identification and characterization of infectious agents, but also the detection of viral variants that may be missed when diagnostic testing is limited or unavailable.