Dr. Timothy Schacker, vice dean for research at the Medical School, spoke to KARE 11 about the Medical School’s work to expand the wastewater testing network to include flu and RSV monitoring. The Medical School wants to tap its existing network of 44 wastewater plants to track the other two viruses. "It's the same sample, it's just that the target is different. The flu is trickier [than COVID and RSV] so what we're trying to do is optimize the assay, so that we can, with greater sensitivity, detect the flu virus,” Dr. Schacker said.

The process consists of sequencing all of the RNA fragments that are in wastewater, and then analyzing what pathogens are in there. Dr. Schacker says his goal right now is to discover what is out there that we do not yet know about. It is hopeful that in three or four months feasible results will explain the research.

This research is made possible from grant money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and NIH equipment that will soon allow for more sequencing within Minnesota.

Read more here.