COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance: Solutions for Successful SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA Extraction

SARS CoV-2 Wastewater Testing - State of the Science (Session 2)
Oral Presentation

Prepared by C. Ripoll
MACHEREY-NAGEL, 2850 Emrick Blvd., BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania, 18020, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 985-285-9523


Many researchers, private companies, and public health agencies are utilizing wastewater testing to monitor COVID-19 infection rates in selected communities, campus dormitories, or health centers. Lessons learned from wastewater surveillance efforts can be used to look for early warning signs of an upcoming rise in infection rates, and the methods employed by these researchers can be used to estimate numbers of infected individuals who may or may not be displaying disease symptoms. Routine wastewater surveillance may prove to be an efficient, non-invasive tool to detect not only COVID-19 infections, but other types of future viral outbreaks as well.
Viral RNA extraction from wastewater samples is a major challenge for laboratories due to the presence of so many substances that cause inhibition of downstream analysis. Commonly used concentration methods tend to exacerbate the problem as they usually concentrate inhibitors as well. MACHEREY-NAGEL presents extraction kit recommendations with inhibitor removal technology to optimize the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA extraction from difficult wastewater samples. Either magnetic bead-based extraction or silica membrane technology can be used for purification of viral nucleic acids from wastewater samples concentrated by a variety of methods, and solutions are available for both low and high throughput workflows. Wastewater samples present many obstacles to surveillance programs, but these difficulties can be overcome with the right tools.