Monitoring occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in school populations: A wastewater-based approach


Clinical testing of children in schools is challenging, with economic implications limiting its frequent use as a monitoring tool of the risks assumed by children and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, a wastewater-based epidemiology approach has been used to monitor 16 schools (10 primary, 5 secondary and 1 post-16 and further education) in England. A total of 296 samples over 9 weeks have been analysed for N1 and E genes using qPCR methods. Of the samples returned, 47.3% were positive for one or both genes with a detection frequency in line with the respective local community. WBE offers a low cost, non-invasive approach for supplementing clinical testing and can provide longitudinal insights that are impractical with traditional clinical testing.

PLoS One
Gianluca Baio
Gianluca Baio
Professor of Statistics and Health Economics