Wastewater surveillance is a promising approach to monitor biological and chemical contaminants on a community level, as demonstrated by its re-emergence as a valuable public health tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in wastewater can be used to track trends in community viral levels and can be an early indicator of clinical infections.
Wastewater is being increasingly surveilled for additional viral pathogens such as influenza, polio, mpox, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as bacterial and fungal pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes. However, data are often incomparable across locations due to the high variability in sampling protocols, sample processing, detection methods, data analysis, and reporting platforms.
NIST is supporting the nation’s growing wastewater surveillance efforts by working with stakeholders to identify and develop measurement-based solutions and standards to increase confidence and comparability in wastewater surveillance results for biological targets.
Post-doctoral fellowship opportunities through the National Research Council include: