A statewide project was started to test wastewater for COVID-19, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The state health department is collaborating with the Department of Natural Resources and researchers at the University of Missouri on the project.
The project idea was based on studies in the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. They found a direct correlation between the amount of viral material in sewage and the number of reported cases within the area.
However, the wastewater is not a significant transmission pathway for the virus.
Raw wastewater samples collected by the communities are submitted to the MU Life Sciences Center for molecular analysis. The university laboratory is currently testing sewage samples from nine pilot facilities and expects to analyze up to 80 facilities per week starting in July.
The testing is expected to provide population-level information about the amount of virus in a community that is not captured by testing patients.