CHEO Researchers continue to be Canadian leaders in wastewater testing, looking for new COVID variant


Ottawa, Ontario — Thursday January 7, 2021

Elizabeth Payne of the Ottawa Citizen published Wastewater testing for new COVID variant could be weeks away.

Tyson Garber, who is a leader in Dr. Alex MacKenzie‘s wastewater COVID-19 research group, spoke to reporters about the new variant. The Citizen Stated “During the pandemic, Ottawa has become an ad-hoc centre of excellence for tracking the spread of COVID-19 by testing wastewater. Ottawa is the only city in Canada doing daily testing, a collaboration between researchers at CHEO and uOttawa with Ottawa Public Health.”

Graber said wastewater testing to identify the RNA of the variant should be able to detect as few as 10 cases in Ottawa. It is likely that when a test is ready to go, Ottawa will have more cases.

“We know we have at least one case and it is expected there are more,” he said. “If this becomes more prevalent, it is incumbent on us to identify when this variant comes into the population so that public health measures can be changed.”

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