New coronavirus variants detected in sewage before showing up in tests

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VARIANTS of coronavirus can be detected in wastewater long before they are spotted by tests in people.

Those infected with coronavirus shed it in their faeces. Hundreds of municipalities around the world already test wastewater for the presence of the virus as part of their surveillance operations. Now research suggests they could also check which genetic variants are circulating to flag up potentially dangerous new versions.

Kara Nelson at the University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues recently extracted useful sequence information from San Francisco’s sewage. Another team, led by Niko Beerenwinkel at ETH …

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