PreMiEr-sponsored seminar hosted by University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Speakers: Drs. Cynthia Gibas, Professor, and Jessica Schlueter, Associate Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics
Adventures in Wastewater Monitoring
Wastewater surveillance has become an established part of US public health infrastructure via the National Wastewater Surveillance System and its network of collection sites in all 50 states. Wastewater based epidemiology has become a powerful tool for public health to monitor circulating and emerging viral variants. As a medium, wastewater is a complex mixed matrix, making the deconvolution of wastewater samples more difficult as there is a scarcity of benchmarked tools for metagenomic samples. We have created a gold-standard dataset constructed from synthetic viral controls spiked into a wastewater RNA matrix and sequenced on the Oxford Nanopore Technologies platform. We compare the performance of seven of the most commonly used deconvolution tools in identifying SARS-CoV-2 variants present in these mixtures. But there’s more to find in wastewater than just viruses and bacteria. Protein biomarkers of exposure and infection are accessible via fecal samples, and we have recently demonstrated that specific human antibodies can be detected in community wastewater. This assay has the potential to provide population-level data about the susceptibility component of the epidemiological SEIR model at a much lower cost than traditional serology.
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