Program in Molecular Surveillance
The Program in Molecular Surveillance aims to design systems for innovative and adaptive molecular surveillance to rapidly sequence pathogens and respond to and communicate with public health officials and medical providers about pandemic conditions in the community.
- Build a system for innovative and adaptive molecular surveillance that can develop new assays, rapidly sequence pathogens and respond to the needs of public health officials and medical providers
- Enable the detection of emergent pathogens, prediction of spikes, and provide guidance for medical and pharmacological therapeutic interventions
Recent Development: Partnering with Communities for Infectious Disease Wastewater Surveillance
A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth and Twin Cities campuses developed a novel indexing method, called Melvin’s Index, to help communities test and detect the amount of viruses in wastewater. The index provides a normalized and standardized metric of wastewater pathogen load for qPCR assays that is resilient to surveillance site variation.
Working with more than 40 municipal wastewater treatment plants across Minnesota, researchers were able to utilize the Melvin’s Index to assess a lag index of trends in clinical COVID-19 cases by 15-17 days at the statewide level and by up to 25 days at the regional/county level. This technique helped greatly in predicting increases and decreases in positive COVID-19 cases that ultimately impacted the healthcare system.
Image credit: Nature – DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00853-y