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Wastewater Surveillance for Tracking COVID-19 & Other Diseases

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), or sewershed surveillance, is the analysis of wastewater to identify the presence of biologicals or chemicals for the purpose of monitoring public health. WBE has previously been used to detect the presence of pharmaceutical or industrial waste, drugs, viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. WBE has proved to be a useful tool for tracking outbreaks and disease dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic. This strategy shows similar potential in helping public health departments monitor other diseases, including those caused by enteroviruses (such as polio), orthopox viruses (such as monkeypox), as well as emerging pathogen threats in communities around the world.

Our workflow, featuring viral concentration and purification kits along with PCR detection kits, allows you to get wastewater surveillance data in one day!

See how possibilities for screening wastewater expand for Monkeypox and Poliomyelitis

Faster Protocol for Detecting Coronavirus RNA in Wastewater

Current methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA require separate viral concentration and RNA extraction steps, which can take >8 hours to complete and may not generate consistent results. We developed a unique direct capture method that combines virus concentration, extraction and RNA clean-up steps to greatly reduce sample processing time.

No matter your sample number, we have a method that fits your needs. Our protocol combines vacuum-based direct capture with RNA purification using either mini spin columns, benchtop automation using Maxwell® Instruments, or 96-well plate-based automation.

Our SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Kit for Wastewater includes PPMoV internal process controls and standards to ensure accurate quantification. Choose a single target (N1, N2 or E) or all three.

wastewater testing sars-cov-2 workflow

SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Kit for Wastewater

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Learn about the collaboration that helped develop the SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Kit, and how the kit is helping campuses monitor COVID-19.

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Learn how a graduate student set up wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the lab using an automated process.

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Wastewater Testing Products For COVID-19

Viral RNA Extraction

The following Maxwell® nucleic acid purification kits are recommended for extracting viral RNA from wastewater samples. These kits used with Maxwell® Instruments allow automated viral RNA extraction from wastewater at up to 48 samples per run.

Purification scale-up and automation support

Our Field Support Scientists are available to help you implement or optimize automation of viral RNA extraction methods, regardless of the instrumentation platform used. We’ll help you develop a workflow that meets your specific needs!

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Amplification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA

PCR reagents, including qPCR and RT-qPCR products, are routinely used to detect and amplify target viral sequences. The SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Kit for Wastewater was developed to detect SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in wastewater and includes multiple controls for internal amplification and inhibitor assessment.

Advantages of Wastewater Surveillance


Early Warning

SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected in human feces a few days to a week before the onset of symptoms. A study showed that sewage surveillance can predict COVID-19 outbreaks even before individual patient testing and hospital admissions.


Population-Wide Data

One wastewater sample can provide data on the average infection rate of thousands of people. This aggregated data can be especially informative to regions with low clinical COVID-19 testing rates.



Instead of individually testing thousands of patients, collecting and testing a small number of wastewater samples is much more cost-efficient for obtaining population-wide data.


Trending Tool

Continual monitoring of wastewater can be used to establish trends in current outbreaks, identify new outbreaks, and prevalence of infections.

Have questions about viral RNA detection in wastewater?

We're happy to answer any questions you may have and work with you to support your needs. Submit the information below to request a free consult and we will be in touch with you shortly!

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Presence of SARS-CoV-2 in Sewage

Read the first report of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA detection in wastewater by the KWR Water Research Institute.

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Sewage as Leading Indicator of COVID-19 Outbreaks

Read this study showing how monitoring wastewater can predict COVID-19 outbreaks.

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Review of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater

This review paper discusses the current state of knowledge and research needs related to SARS-CoV-2 detection in wastewater.

Read Review