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Ohio State collecting dust to track down COVID-19 on campus

The university said part of the genetic material found inside the COVID-19 virus can stick around for up to a month in dust.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University is taking several measures to fight COVID-19 on campus, including a new initiative: collecting dust.

The university said part of the genetic material found inside the COVID-19 virus can stick around for up to a month in dust.

This semester, Ohio State researchers will take dust custodians pick up in 50 of their buildings and monitor how prevalent the COVID-19 virus and its variants are on campus.

"If we find a high concentration we can notify others on campus and then this can go as information to be used in terms of how we mitigate this. So it can be confirmed via individual testing potentially, but it's basically part of this larger process," said Karen Dannemiller, an associate professor with environmental health science with Ohio State.

In addition to collecting dust, the university will also monitor wastewater on campus for the virus and conduct regular COVID-19 tests.

Dannemiller said analyzing dust is "another tool in the toolbox" to fight the spread of COVID-19.

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