By Ben Lambert

Updated

  • The Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post

    The Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

    The Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

    Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

The Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

The Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW HAVEN — Sewage may help guide us through the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers from Yale analyzed sewage from the East Shore Water Pollution Abatement Facility between March 19 and May 1 for a recent study.

They found the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in each sample, present in the stool of COVID-19 patients, was correlated with admissions and coronavirus cases at Yale New Haven Hospital days later.

“SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration in primary sludge closely followed the epidemiology curves established by compiled COVID-19 testing data and hospital admissions, but was a leading indicator by seven and three days, respectively,” officials said in the study. “Our study could have substantial policy implications. Jurisdictions can use primary sludge SARS-CoV-2 concentrations to preempt community outbreak dynamics or provide an additional basis for easing restrictions, especially when there are limitations in clinical testing.”

The R squared value of both correlations was 0.99, researchers said. An R squared value of 1 is considered a perfect correlation, according to DePaul University.

“The most common metric followed to track the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic within communities is derived from testing symptomatic cases and evaluating the number of positive tests over time,” the report says. “However, tracking positive tests is a lagging indicator for the epidemic progression.Testing is largely prompted by symptoms, which may take up to five days to present, and individuals can shed virus prior to exhibiting symptoms. There is a pressing need for additional methods for early sentinel surveillance and real-time estimations of community disease burden so that public health authorities may modulate and plan epidemic responses accordingly.”

Faculty members from a series of Yale departments and institutions, including the School of Medicine, Institute for Global Health, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, School of Nursing, School of Public Health, and Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Disease conducted the inquiry.

The study is available for public review here.

Check back for updates.

william.lambert@hearstmediact.com

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