Carleton University’s Banu Örmeci, Jarislowsky Chair in Water and Health and director of Carleton’s Global Water Institute, will host Ingenious Talks Online: Monitoring Wastewater for Early Warning of Future COVID-19 Outbreaks.

Presented by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design, Ingenious Talks is a speaker series that engages the community in discussions of timely and innovative ideas in engineering, design and technology.

When: Wednesday, June 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (online via Zoom)
Info: This talk is open to all members of the general public. Register here (login details will be sent to registered participants by email prior to the event).

Following the emergence of COVID-19, scientists have identified that the virus is present in the guts of a large portion of COVID-19 patients and subsequently shed within their stool. Recent studies have shown that RNA of the virus can be detected in sewage much earlier than the first confirmed case in a community through traditional testing, with increases in the virus’ genome units in wastewater corresponding well with increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients.

In this talk, Örmeci will explore how monitoring virus levels in sewage may not only provide an effective tool for understanding the prevalence of COVID-19 in a community, but also serve as an early warning surveillance tool for future outbreaks.

Until a vaccine is developed, COVID-19 is expected to return in waves, creating the need for inexpensive, non-invasive, accurate and easily deployable monitoring tools to effectively manage future outbreaks of the virus. Örmeci’s research group at Carleton is working on the development of an early warning tool based on COVID-19 levels in sewage collected from different zones in Ottawa. The geographic information collected on the spread and prevalence of the virus will enable the identification of hot spots as targets for potential health and safety interventions, saving both lives and resources.

About the Speaker

Örmeci received her PhD from Duke University. She leads an internationally-recognized research program on wastewater and biosolids treatment and monitoring at Carleton. She recently received a CU COVID-19 Rapid Research Response Grant for Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater to Minimize/Prevent Future Outbreaks.

Partnership Opportunities

Partnership and collaborative effort are essential when it comes to addressing complex, global issues such as COVID-19. Örmeci is interested in collaborating with diverse research partners – including treatment plants, municipalities, public health officials, epidemiologists, industrial partners and other stakeholders – to carry out this critical work. To learn more or how to get involved, visit Carleton’s Hub for Good.

Media Contact

Adam Landry
Communications Officer
Faculty of Engineering and Design
Carleton University

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 in
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