MSU gets $6 million to continue monitoring wastewater for COVID-19

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Two labs at Michigan State University will get nearly $6 million to continue conduct COVID-19 surveillance and testing.

The funds are part of a $49 million grant that is will help support 19 local projects from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Joan Rose’s Water Quality and Environmental Microbiology Laboratory and Irene Xagoraraki’s Environmental Virology Laboratory are the two labs at MSU that will get the funds, with Rose’s lab taking the lead.

The funding will continue through July 31, 2023.

MSU said as clinical testing goes down, monitoring wastewater will be a key to stopping the spread.

“We are going use wastewater surveillance as a way to examine the disease spread and improve communications, access to testing and vaccinations, and return the campus to a vibrant, interactive place to learn,” said Rose, MSU Homer Nowlin Endowed Chair in Water Research (affiliated with the Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences) and leader of the Global Water Pathogens Project. “This will be particularly important in the fall when we come back to campus due to the seasonal nature of the virus.”

Over the course of the project, it is estimated that more than 87,000 wastewater samples will be collected and analyzed. 

“I am so proud to be part of the Michigan network of advance laboratories,” Rose said. “This is unique in the U.S., and everyone is contributing to the well-being of Michiganders through partnerships between public health, state government and wastewater utilities.”

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