Quebec was among the first to test wastewater for COVID-19. Then it stopped funding the research – CBC

Quebec was among the first to test wastewater for COVID-19. Then it stopped funding the research – CBC

by tmnationtalk on January 27, 202271 Views

With PCR testing no longer available, experts are looking for different ways to track the virus

Jan 27, 2022

Early on in the pandemic, Quebec was at the forefront of research into testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 as a way to track the progression of its spread.

The approach is now being used with increased frequency across North America, including in Ontario, to assist with the early detection of a rise in cases, spot neighbourhood outbreaks and prepare for an eventual rise in hospitalizations.

But funding for Quebec’s pilot project ran out in December, just as the highly contagious Omicron variant was spreading rapidly among the population.

The province stopped making PCR tests available for the general population weeks later, on Jan. 5, after it was overwhelmed by the demand.

Experts say testing wastewater has the potential to be a useful tool to offset this lack of data.

“This method is really meant to complement existing systems,” said Prativa Baral, an epidemiologist and doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-wastewater-covid-1.6328148

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