UVic researcher Heather Buckley holds a wastewater sample, which will be used to study and identify future outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout B.C., starting in Greater Victoria. (Courtesy of University of Victoria)

University of Victoria to study COVID outbreaks from your poop

Greater Victoria first to receive sewage monitoring system in B.C.

What if you could tell when a population had outbreaks of COVID-19, whether they were symptomatic or asymptomatic?

Three engineering researchers at University of Victoria are developing a sewage monitoring system with a private company to do exactly that.

“For centuries, people have been tested individually for infectious diseases,” said Devesh Bharadwaj, CEO of Pani Energy, a company the UVic alum founded in 2017, in a release. “Being able to test their collective waste to provide a supplemental data source for disease surveillance, is an emerging field with considerable potential.”

ALSO READ: Driver offers cash to be infected with COVID-19 out front of B.C. pharmacy

Bharagwaj is joining Stephanie Willerth, chair of UVic’s Biomedical Engineering program, and Caetano Dorea, head of the Public Health and Environmental Engineering lab, to study samples and report about wastewater data from across B.C. in July.

Notably, the wide range of pathogens that can be detected in wastewater will give public health agencies a useful tool to monitor outbreaks in the future. This project has been funded through a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

ALSO READ: Anxiety high as Canadian schools prepare for students from COVID-ravaged U.S.

“Having this predictive tool will be a real game changer, both in terms of responding to a second wave of COVID-19, as well as to other pathogen outbreaks over the longer term,” said Buckley in a release. “Victoria is currently at a near-zero point with COVID-19, so any data we can collect now provides us with a baseline against which we can compare when the virus returns.”

Greater Victoria will be the first area in the province where the university will implement the new wastewater monitoring system.

RELATED: B.C. to begin to test sewage to find clues about where COVID-19 has spread


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

CoronavirusUniversity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students will be going back to school full time in the fall in ‘learning groups’

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to submit back-to-school plan to ministry in August

LMS hosts virtual Kids’ Pirate Event in late August

Kids’ Pirate Event will feature five days of online content

Milestone Equipment Contracting on the job of Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade

Project intricacies will now start to take shape in the weeks ahead

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Most Read