COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance: Scalable Solutions for Detection in Low to High Throughput Workflows

Wastewater Surveillance - State of the Science and Its Uses for Monitoring Public Health
Oral Presentation

Prepared by C. Ripoll
MACHEREY-NAGEL, 924 Marcon Blvd. Ste 102, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 18109, 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. Wastewater surveillance can be used to look for early warning signs of an upcoming rise in infection rates, and the methods employed by these labs can be used to estimate numbers of infected individuals who may or may not be displaying disease symptoms. Routine wastewater testing is 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 numerous obstacles. One such obstacle is the presence of many substances that cause inhibition of downstream analysis, and these inhibitors can be concentrated further in the sample input by commonly used concentration methods. Another possible issue is scalability of the workflow since it is sometimes unpredictable how many samples the laboratory will be required to process in potentially very short turn around times.
MACHEREY-NAGEL presents scalable and flexible recommendations for viral pathogen concentration and RNA extraction that takes into account inhibitor removal technology required to optimize SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA detection in complex wastewater samples. These solutions can be applied to both low and high throughput testing workflows and are even automatable. Wastewater samples present many challenges to surveillance programs, but these difficulties can be overcome with the right tools.