Discovery Partners Institute

When COVID-19 hit, one of the biggest health challenges was a lack of information: We didn’t know how many of us were infected and with which variant of the virus. The Discovery Partners Institute put together a partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory that developed a proven method to detect the coronavirus in its multiple variants in samples of wastewater from sewers at O’Hare International Airport and Cook County Jail. Working with both the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Public Health, we now monitor COVID-19’s presence among nearly 9 million people across the state and soon — in a pioneering project — will expand our sampling to schools.