COVID-19 wastewater study investigating sources of variability when quantifying virus counts

Posted January 29, 2021
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, pictured in this artist rendering, can be quantified in wastewater streams to potentially provide insights into COVID-19 community infection rates. A national research team working to build a COVID-19 wastewater surveillance system has begun examining potential sources of variability in how the virus in wastewater is collected, preserved and quantified.

SCCWRP and its partners have begun investigating potential sources of variability in how the COVID-19 virus in wastewater is collected, preserved and quantified – part of an ongoing national study seeking to use wastewater streams to monitor COVID-19 infections in communities.

Researchers are looking at whether a number of discrete factors affect quantification of wastewater virus counts, including the frequency of sampling, how the samples are preserved, whether sampling is completed once daily vs. composited over a 24-hour period, and the method used to inactive the virus prior to processing. SCCWRP has been ramping up these efforts over the past few months.

The national study’s research team, which includes SCCWRP, is investigating the potential of using wastewater streams to offer more accurate, earlier and comprehensive insights about community infection rates than individual testing of subsets of the population.

Researchers hope to eventually correlate the wastewater virus counts to levels of COVID-19 infections in local populations.

More news related to: Microbial Source Tracking, Microbial Water Quality