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UArizona researchers still testing waster water from students dorms for COVID-19

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Uarizona UofA UA University

TUCSON (KVOA) - Professor Doctor Ian Pepper, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona said this will be the second year of testing waste water from student dorms on campus to detect COVID-19.

"The virus is definitely all around us, interestingly the Delta is the predominant variant at this point in time. We expect that to change in the coming weeks," Dr. Pepper said.

Dr. Pepper said the technology has helped reduce the spread of of the virus on campus. Recently, Delta has been the most dominant strain on campus but researchers have not been able to test for the Omicron variant yet.

"Concentrations of the virus in the local waste water utility and the number of positive in the dorms was the same a last year, but it dormitories the number of clinical cases of infection were much lower than a year ago," Dr. Pepper said. "So what we suspect is happening, is we are getting a lot of breakthrough infections with a lot of asymptomatic cases and with the lack of mandated testing, they just go undetected," said Pepper.

Dr. Pepper also adds there is a kit available for the Omicron variant which is expected to arrive next week to help with detection.