Claire Trant

Detecting and preventing viral infections through intelligent sewage surveillance








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Detecting and preventing viral infections through intelligent sewage surveillance

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, detecting viruses and monitoring their spread has become one of the world’s most pressing issues. Claire Trant and her team at Untap are at the forefront of the fightback.

They’ve created a device that is able to detect viruses before symptoms present themselves. It also bypasses the need for expensive individual testing, utilising community health monitoring instead, through wastewater.

Claire wants to enable people to make better decisions about their health – from PPE use to cleaning policies – based on localised risks. “We have designed a device that any community can install to monitor their health in real time,” she says.

The system is hugely flexible, with applications in schools, offices, hospitals, care homes, prisons and elsewhere. “Our platform is virus agnostic,” says Trant. “In the future we plan to move into other pathogen detection such as bacteria and hormones, MRSA and stress.”

Claire sees the Innovate UK Women in Innovation Award as an important step in this development. She also hopes it will help inspire more women to get involved in STEM subjects. “Although sewage technology may not seem particularly appealing, I want to encourage more women to seek out these less appealing but fascinating sectors.”


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