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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Since the start of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been interest in using wastewater monitoring as an approach for disease surveillance. A significant uncertainty that would improve the interpretation of wastewater monitoring data is the intensity and timing with which individuals shed RNA from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into wastewater. By combining wastewater and case surveillance data sets from a university campus during a period of heightened surveillance, we inferred that individual shedding of RNA into wastewater peaks on average 6 days (50% uncertainty interval (UI): 6–7; 95% UI: 4–8) following infection, and that wastewater measurements are highly overdispersed [negative binomial dispersion parameter, k = 0.39 (95% credible interval: 0.32–0.48)]. This limits the utility of wastewater surveillance as a leading indicator of secular trends in SARS-CoV-2 transmission during an epidemic, and implies that it could be most useful as an early warning of rising transmission in areas where transmission is low or clinical testing is delayed or of limited capacity.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  3. Wastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA has demonstrated useful correlation with both coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and clinical testing positivity at the community level. Wastewater surveillance on college campuses has also demonstrated promising predictive capacity for the presence and absence of COVID-19 cases. However, to date, such monitoring has most frequently relied upon composite samplers and reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) techniques, which limits the accessibility and scalability of wastewater surveillance, particularly in low-resource settings. In this study, we trialed the use of tampons as passive swabs for sample collection and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), which does not require sophisticated thermal cycling equipment, to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Results for the workflow were available within three hours of sample collection. The RT-LAMP assay is approximately 20 times less analytically sensitive than RT-droplet digital PCR. Nonetheless, during a building-level wastewater surveillance campaign concurrent with independent weekly clinical testing of all students, the method demonstrated a three-day positive predictive value (PPV) of 75% (excluding convalescent cases) and same-day negative predictive value (NPV) of 80% for incident COVID-19 cases. These predictive values are comparable to that reported by wastewater monitoring using RT-qPCR. These observationsmore »suggest that even with lower analytical sensitivity the tampon swab and RT-LAMP workflow offers a cost-effective and rapid approach that could be leveraged for scalable building-level wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 potentially even in low-resource settings.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 23, 2022
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