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A UNLV researcher models the pandemic's future by studying sewage

Associated Press

When UNLV researchers want to predict the path of the pandemic they pop open a manhole.

Edwin Oh, an associate professor at the UNLV Kerkorian School of Medicine, heads a team that examines wastewater and sewage samples for the COVID-19 virus. In December, his work identified the omicron variant circulating in Southern Nevada a week before the first case was reported.

“It was really the velocity, the speed at which this variant omicron took over that really surprised us,” Oh told State of Nevada. “We went from something like 20% of all genomes being omicron … all the way up to 90% within seven days.”


Edwin Oh, associate professor, UNLV Kerkorian School of Medicine

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Zachary Green is the Coordinating Producer and a Reporter for KNPR's State of Nevada Program. He reports on Clark County, minority affairs, health, real estate, business, and gardening. You'll occasionally hear Zachary Green reporting and fill-in hosting on the State of Nevada program.