Wastewater Testing Labs Can Detect SARS-CoV-2 in Less Than Four Hours with New Methods

A complete workflow developed by Promega creates a snapshot of community-wide infection rates using wastewater samples

Madison, WI USA. (August 16, 2021)

A complete workflow developed by Promega Corporation enables wastewater testing laboratories, including public health organizations, to quickly assess the health of entire communities from a single sample. The Maxwell® RSC Enviro Total Nucleic Acid Kit and Wizard® Enviro Total Nucleic Acid Kit join a growing portfolio of products that support wastewater surveillance to monitor the spread of

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology
Wastewater testing gained widespread popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 shed viral particles in their feces, even before they show symptoms. As a result, the levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater reflect the trends in infection rates in a given community. Collected consistently, this data can predict major outbreaks as much as seven days earlier than clinical tests. 

“Wastewater gives you a snapshot of the entire community,” says Subhanjan Mondal, Senior Research Scientist at Promega Corporation. “To think of any other sample type that has that much wealth of information…it is hard to even imagine.”

Direct Capture Methods
Promega scientists recently published a study in Science of The Total Environment detailing direct capture methods for rapid and high-yield purification of viral nucleic acids from wastewater. These methods overcome the shortcomings of traditional precipitation-based isolation of viral particles, which fail to capture the degraded viruses present in wastewater. The publication demonstrates that direct capture methods produce samples that are compatible with RT-qPCR for monitoring infection levels and next-generation sequencing (NGS) for detecting viral variants. 

Promega Workflow for Wastewater Surveillance
The methods published in Science of the Total Environment form the basis of the new Maxwell® RSC Enviro Total Nucleic Acid Kit, an automated method for purification of viral nucleic acids, as well as the manual Wizard® Enviro Total Nucleic Acid Kit. Both kits are designed to work with the large sample volumes required for wastewater testing and remove inhibitors that can disrupt downstream testing. The protocols can also be altered to process solids extracted from wastewater, in addition to only liquids. 

The purification kits can be used with the SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Kit for Wastewater to form a complete workflow for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater. The workflow moves from sample to results in less than four hours, offering quick answers to inform decisions. This portfolio will continue to expand with additional amplification kits to be launched later.

About Promega Corporation

Promega Corporation is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. The company’s product portfolio of over 4,000 products support a range of life science work across areas such as cell biology; DNA, RNA and protein analysis; drug development; human identification and molecular diagnostics. For over 40 years these tools and technologies have grown in their application and are used today by scientists and technicians in labs for academic and government research, forensics, pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics and agricultural and environmental testing. Promega is headquartered in Madison, WI, USA with branches in 16 countries and over 50 global distributors. 

Visit our wastewater surveillance page to learn more about Promega solutions for wastewater testing.

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