Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 Through Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and COVID-19 Clinical Testing Data on a Large US University Campus
As the return to normality in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic enters its early stages, the necessity for accurate, quick, and community-wide surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has been emphasized. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been used across the world as a tool for monitoring the pandemic, but studies of its efficacy in comparison to the best-known method for surveillance, randomly selected COVID-19 testing, has limited research. This study evaluated the trends and correlations present between SARS-CoV-2 in the effluent wastewater of a large university campus and random COVID-19 testing results published by the university. A moderately strong positive correlation was found between the random testing and WBE surveillance methods (r = 0.63), and this correlation was strengthened when accommodating for lost samples during the experiment (r = 0.74).