Honors & Awards

  • Global Health Postdoctoral Affiliate, Center for Innovation in Global Health (CIGH), Stanford University

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Use of Wastewater Metrics to Track COVID-19 in the US. JAMA network open Varkila, M. R., Montez-Rath, M. E., Salomon, J. A., Yu, X., Block, G. A., Owens, D. K., Chertow, G. M., Parsonnet, J., Anand, S. 2023; 6 (7): e2325591


    Importance: Widespread use of at-home COVID-19 tests hampers determination of community COVID-19 incidence.Objective: To examine the association of county-level wastewater metrics with high case and hospitalization rates nationwide both before and after widespread use of at-home tests.Design, Setting, and Participants: This observational cohort study with a time series analysis was conducted from January to September 2022 in 268 US counties in 22 states participating in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Wastewater Surveillance System. Participants included the populations of those US counties.Exposures: County level of circulating SARS-CoV-2 as determined by metrics based on viral wastewater concentration relative to the county maximum (ie, wastewater percentile) and 15-day percentage change in SARS-CoV-2 (ie, percentage change).Main Outcomes and Measures: High county incidence of COVID-19 as evidenced by dichotomized reported cases (current cases ≥200 per 100 000 population) and hospitalization (≥10 per 100 000 population lagged by 2 weeks) rates, stratified by calendar quarter.Results: In the first quarter of 2022, use of the wastewater percentile detected high reported case (area under the curve [AUC], 0.95; 95% CI, 0.94-0.96) and hospitalization (AUC, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.84-0.88) rates. The percentage change metric performed poorly, with AUCs ranging from 0.51 (95% CI, 0.50-0.53) to 0.57 (95% CI, 0.55-0.59) for reported new cases, and from 0.50 (95% CI, 0.48-0.52) to 0.55 (95% CI, 0.53-0.57) for hospitalizations across the first 3 quarters of 2022. The Youden index for detecting high case rates was wastewater percentile of 51% (sensitivity, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.80-0.84; specificity, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.92-0.95). A model inclusive of both metrics performed no better than using wastewater percentile alone. The performance of wastewater percentile declined over time for cases in the second quarter (AUC, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.82-0.86) and third quarter (AUC, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.70-0.75) of 2022.Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, nationwide, county wastewater levels relative to the county maximum were associated with high COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates in the first quarter of 2022, but there was increasing dissociation between wastewater and clinical metrics in subsequent quarters, which may reflect increasing underreporting of cases, reduced testing, and possibly lower virulence of infection due to vaccines and treatments. This study offers a strategy to operationalize county wastewater percentile to improve the accurate assessment of community SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence when reliability of conventional surveillance data is declining.

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.25591

    View details for PubMedID 37494040

  • Feasibility and Acceptability of SARS-CoV-2 Screening among Patients Receiving Hemodialysis: A Pilot Study. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN Anand, S., Montez-Rath, M., Varkila, M., Yu, X., Block, M., Brillhart, S., Leppink, A., Hunsader, P., Owens, D. K., Chertow, G. M., Parsonnet, J., Block, G. 2023

    View details for DOI 10.2215/CJN.0000000000000137

    View details for PubMedID 36976655