In New York City Sewage, a Mysterious Coronavirus Signal

Our work on detecting cryptic SARS-CoV-2 variants in NYC wastewater has been published in Nature Communciations. Emily Anthes of the NY Times wrote a great article abou the work.

Last January, a team of researchers searching for the coronavirus in New York City’s wastewater spotted something strange in their samples. The viral fragments they found had a unique constellation of mutations that had never been reported before in human patients — a potential sign of a new, previously undetected variant.

For the past year, these oddball sequences, or what the scientists call “cryptic lineages,” have continued to pop up in the city’s wastewater.

Lab Finds Earliest Evidence of Omicron Variant in the US

Omicron was probably in N.Y.C. well before the first U.S. case was detected, wastewater data suggest.

The samples suggest that someone in New York City may have had the Omicron variant as early as Nov. 21, four days before South African scientists first announced cases of the variant and ten days before the first U.S. case was reported. Researchers in California and Texas also found evidence of Omicron in wastewater samples from late November.

The article reports on a recent article published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report .

The Dennehy Lab