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EPA Expands Research on COVID-19 in the Environment

EPA Expands Research on COVID-19 in the Environment - View this WebinarEXIT

EPA scientists are building on a foundation of world-class research by applying their knowledge to reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This research will help states & territories, tribes, and local governments, including public health agencies guide homeowners, business owners, and others reduce the risk of exposure. This webinar will highlight research EPA is working on with CDC including:

Environmental Cleanup and Disinfection: Reducing the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 relies on effective cleaning and disinfection. EPA researchers are assessing the use disinfectants on many different surfaces and objects. They will also determine the best environmental sample collection methods and the limits of detection for SARS-CoV-2. To determine the effectiveness of these approaches, researchers are also developing a method to quickly analyze surface samples for the live virus, both before and after the disinfection process. Strategies to decontaminate PPE will also be developed

Wastewater Virus Detection: Researchers are studying whether SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in wastewater. This work will focus on understanding viral loads, or how much of the virus is present, whether it is in an infectious state, and how it moves through the wastewater system. This information could help public health agencies by acting as an ‘early warning system’ and can identify if there is an outbreak in a specific community.

Salivary Antibody Assay Development: Researchers are developing an easy, non-invasive, and reliable antibody assay as a tool for public health agencies to help determine the true rate of infection across the country.

Research on COVID-19 in the Environment

Presenter Biographies

Gregory Sayles is the Director of the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response in ORD and the lead for EPA research efforts on SARS-CoV-2. Greg has 30 years of experience at EPA, starting as a research chemical engineer supporting the Agency’s clean up program by developing approaches to remediate contaminated soils and sediments. He built a highly successful government (EPA, DOE, DOD)-industry (DuPont, GE, Monsanto) partnership to develop cleanup approaches for chlorinated solvents. Greg later served in various ORD leadership positions associated with drinking water, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemical research programs. In addition, he led the development of the 2008 and 2011 research plans for EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program.

Timothy J. Wade is the Associate Division Director for the Public Health and Environmental Systems Division in ORD’s Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment. Tim is a senior epidemiologist and has been with EPA for over 17 years. His research interests include waterborne disease epidemiology, the development and application of non-invasive immunological biomarkers for environmental pathogens, microbial risk assessment and infectious disease modeling and surveillance.

Kevin Oshima is the Director of the Watershed and Ecosystem Characterization Division in ORD’s Center for Environmental Measurements and Modeling. Kevin has been with EPA for over 10 years. Prior to joining EPA, Kevin Oshima was a professor at New Mexico State in environmental virology and has a research background that focuses on public health water microbiology methods.

Jay L. Garland is a Senior Scientist in ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response and has worked in federal service for almost 30 years. Jay has worked on a range of topics, including methods for microbial community analysis, factors affecting survival of human associated pathogens, and various biological approaches for recycling wastes. His current efforts focus on advancing innovative approaches to water infrastructure, including mitigating risks associated with antimicrobial resistance in the water cycle.

Shawn P. Ryan is the Director of the Homeland Security & Materials Management Division in ORD’s Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response. In addition, Shawn is the National Program Director for EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program. Shawn has over 19 years of experience at EPA, including 16 years leading research to support EPA’s Homeland Security mission. He has initiated and led several large-scale interagency projects that have made significant advances in Homeland Security and served as models of partnership. His research focuses on biological and chemical agent-related decontamination.