Why scientists are so fascinated with Cairns poos
RESULTS will not immediately be made publicly available from a new COVID-19 wastewater testing program to be rolled out across Cairns.
The University of Queensland and CSIRO are leading the research aimed at allowing authorities to quickly swoop to action when a potential outbreak is detected.
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said wastewater was being sampled in larger population centres and locations with significant tourist numbers to identify the presence of virus genetic material, viral RNA.
"Following agreement with relevant local governments and water utilities, we are planning to take samples from suitable wastewater treatment plants statewide," she said.
"Sampling has commenced in a number of locations in southeast Queensland but no confirmed results have been reported yet.
"The program is still at the experimental design and validation stage.
"We will publish results once we are able to interpret within the context of the broader COVID-19 epidemiological picture."
Previous testing has given cause for optimism as authorities seek out fast, cost-effective and reliable tools to quickly detect the presence of the virus in individual communities.
Scientists compared seven methods to discover the most effective way to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
At the time that early research was conducted, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the breakthrough would help
"ensure each suburb gets the medical support it needs".
Separate research is also under way to determine what risk faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 could pose - and the impact such revelations could have for public health and for pandemic control strategies across the globe.
Originally published as Why scientists are so fascinated with Cairns poos