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N.B. company says its rapid-test technology for sewage can help detect COVID-19 early

Last Updated Oct 26, 2020 at 3:44 pm EDT

FREDERICTON — A Fredericton-based company has filed a patent for a technology it says can help provide rapid, early detection of COVID-19 in a community by testing its sewage.

LuminUltra and researchers at Dalhousie University say their system for rapid, on-site wastewater testing is portable and less costly than traditional laboratory testing. 

CEO Pat Whalen said in a recent interview his company’s detection tool can make COVID-19 testing accessible to communities with limited or no access to testing facilities. 

Whalen says his company’s 4.5-kilogram device can produce on-site results within 90 minutes to two hours.

Lab testing of wastewater has been conducted in several countries as a way to detect early signs of COVID-19 flare-ups in communities. 

The Netherlands and France used such testing in the early days of the pandemic, and according to non-peer reviewed studies, both countries were able to detect traces of the virus in wastewater before widespread outbreaks were confirmed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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