The University of Guelph has been one of the leaders in COVID-19 research, and in the wake of Omicron, one specific area research took on new importance as the regular channels of COVID testing were overwhelmed. The future of monitoring COVID-19’s prevalence and resilience may be in wastewater testing, and we have the man that could write book on it if he weren’t so busy.
This week, we’re joined by Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, who holds the Leung Family Professorship in Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and is the director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety. His research has focused on food-borne pathogens, antibiotic resistance and food fraud, but it turned out that his work was transferable to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Goodridge and his colleagues, wastewater testing has become a fairly reliable indicator of how bad COVID-19 has spread in our community, and finding where the new cases are, which has been very important due to a lack of PCR testing and the surge in the number of new Omicron cases. More than that, wastewater testing could be key to stopping future waves of the virus’ and protecting public health in other areas.
Dr. Goodridge will talk to us about how wastewater testing of COVID-19 works, why it works, and how the global pandemic managed to accelerate the development of the science around it. He also talks about how wastewater testing is being used in public health reporting, and the challenges and limitations when it comes to scale. He will also discuss how this research can continue to be used as we work to the end of this pandemic, and how wastewater testing can be used to prevent the next pandemic.
So let’s go behind the science on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can read about Professor Goodridge’s work with wastewater testing at the University of Guelph’s website. You can also see the results of regular wastewater COVID-19 testing on both the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website and the University of Guelph website, and those numbers are update every day Monday through Friday.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo courtesy of the University of Guelph