© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health & Science

Marshall Researchers Test for COVID-19 in Wastewater Samples

Holden Young calibrates the pH meter for use in processing wastewater samples.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) called on Marshall University to help detect COVID-19 outbreaks across the state. Specifically, researchers are using feces samples from wastewater.

The virus can be detected in an infected person’s feces days before showing respiratory symptoms, even if that person is asymptomatic. Marshall researchers have been monitoring human excrement for the virus since fall 2020.

Marshal is one of many colleges and universities that monitored waste from dorms on campus for the coronavirus.

If the virus shows up in testing, researchers can then give COVID screenings to everyone in a particular building, with the hopes of early detection and containment with quarantining.

The project and partnership with West Virginia DHHR is still being developed. State officials hope a statewide program would prepare for a sudden increase in cases.

Freshman Holden Young prepares a wastewater sample.

WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.