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Rachel Poretsky’s DPI wastewater team receives $2.4M of funding from CDPH

Rachel Poretsky's (Co-PI) DPI Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE) Team Partnership with the City of Chicago received an additional $2.4M of funding form CDPH. This new round of funding will expand their capacity, enhance their abilities to detect emerging threats, and continue ongoing operations.

Since October 2020, the DPI wastewater-based epidemiology team has been developing and optimizing methods for qualifying SARS-CoV-2 viral load in Chicago's sewer systems--- an essential indicator of community-level infection trends---and sequencing virus samples from wastewater to understand trends in variants.  The project expanded to include targeted monitoring of key facilities, including the Cook County Jail and O'Hare International Airport.  This initial work, funded by a research grant from the Walder Foundation, yielded insights ranging from laboratory protocols to optimal selection of sampling locations to data modeling and analysis of the relationships between public health indicators and wastewater.  The research project transitioned into a $2.14M partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health that launched in October 2021. The additional $2.36m investment from the City will support continued neighborhood and facility sampling, the addition of influenza A/B testing, and the enhancement of project team capabilities for responding to emerging threats such as mpox or poliovirus.