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

Abstract

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.

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