The collaborative Houston Waste Water Sars Cov 2 project results have been made public during a briefing at the City of Houston Gallery hall at 11.00 am on Thursday 24th of September 2020 by the participants from Houston health department, Houston public works, Rice and Baylor universities.
Dr. Loren Hopkins Ph.D. represented the city of Houston health department, professor Lauren Stadler represented Rice University, and Dr. Anthony Morenso represented Baylor Houston.
Wastewater surveillance has been used in Houston from 1940 to 1960 to detect viruses passed into wastewater in feces by those carrying the virus be they symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Feces that enter the sewage network carries the virus with it, and when the wastewater collected at treatment plants is polled as a study sample, the results could be positive or negative and or show viral particles per litter of water in a quantitative manner, as Dr. Anthony Morenso said was done with the Polio outbreak in Houston.
Professor Hopkins gave some advantages of the Coronavirus survey in wastewater to include, Early warning system for outbreaks, detection of a resurgence in communities, less expensive than mass surveys, coverage in areas with little Clinical testing information, and with use in identification of geographic areas of concern.
The hope is to continue using this method to help inform public health decisions regarding interventions to control the virus the City leaders said.
In addition to identifying emerging outbreaks, wastewater data can detect disease resurgence in communities, is more cost-effective than mass testing surveys, and provide data in areas with limited viral testing says, Professor Lauren Stadler, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University and academic lead of the project.
The conclusions of the project are the following, it provides additional information to complement the case positivity rates as shown by the data on slides provided, used to identify hot spits and opportunity for intervention, and future uses could estimate how prevalent the virus is in the community.
Dr David Persse says at a time when fewer people care getting tested, this project helps us to see what is happening in the city.
People still need to go out and get tested, but this project gives us data that serves as another tool to identify disease, slow the spread and save lives. The waste water project is not a substitution for viral Covid19 testing.
Mayor Sylvester Turner in closing gave present USA national Covid19 disease and death numbers, and what proportion is contributed by Houston Texas and asked Houstonians and Americans to take the virus serious.
Dr Akwo Ntuba Thompson