The town of Cody made an interesting purchase recently.
The Cody Enterprise reports that the town bought a Teledyne ISCO 6712C Compact Portable Sampler for just under $10,000.
Don’t recognize it? It’s not likely you have one at your house. But this machine and similar ones are becoming more and more popular across the globe.
It’s a machine that tests poop for the coronavirus.
The device is a five-gallon bucket that is placed in a sewer, fills up with the pertinent “materials,” and then is examined by someone who might really hate their job.
But this is nothing new. It’s happening everywhere it seems — or at least in 40 states across the U.S.
So far the wastewater epidemiology firm Biobot has collected 300 samples in 40 states.
The company says they use the poop to “measure the concentration of the virus and estimate how badly each area has been hit.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into it as well.
“The CDC is exploring the potential for wastewater testing to inform the response, but we are not conducting any testing at CDC,” a spokesperson told Politico. “However, there are external groups that are currently conducting wastewater testing.”
But why would Park County do it? After all, there’s only been one confirmed case there.
Scientists say it’s because of asymptomatic carriers. We really don’t know how widespread the virus is.
“With wastewater, you can very quickly get a snapshot of an entire population,” Biobot founder Mariana Matus told the LA Times.“The closest approach to replicating the data from wastewater would be to literally test every single person in a community and then take the average of that. It is very powerful.”
Testing in Cody begins this month and takes between seven and 10 days before the test results are returned.