Microbe Mappers Are Tracking Covid-19's Invisible Traces

Scientists have been mapping microbes in public places for a long time and are now tracking Covid-19 by swabbing subways, park benches, ATMs, and even the air, for traces of genetic material to better understand the virus’ transmission dynamics and detect hotspots before transmission becomes widespread. Molecular monitoring has identified how long the virus can live on different surfaces and the origin of different strains, which can flag sanitation priorities and help contact tracers. There are limits to what it can reveal because finding virus on surfaces does not always lead to definite infection.

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