COVID video series: Tracking wastewater

VIDEO: Public health researchers help slow COVID spread by testing wastewater

From the classroom to the research lab to the front lines of testing and tracing, the University of South Carolina community has taken extraordinary steps over the past year to safeguard its students, faculty and staff in the face of COVID-19.

As we mark the one-year point of the pandemic, here’s the second in a three-part video series documenting the resilience, ingenuity and commitment that have guided us through this period.

Sean Norman, an associate professor in the Arnold School of Public Health, has been studying wastewater for years, particularly focused on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In April 2020, he converted his lab on campus to study COVID-19 in wastewater, taking samples from South Carolina, Texas and California. By August, Norman and three undergraduate students began collecting and testing wastewater samples around the University of South Carolina campus. Since the coronavirus can be detected in sewage before a patient’s symptoms show up, results of his tests were shared with leaders around campus to target areas for early intervention and COVID-19 testing. The work was all part of a way to help limit the spread of the virus on campus and in the community. 

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