How can public health departments assess SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence in their communities without testing and associated reporting lags? Measuring viral COVID-19 RNA in municipal wastewater offers a way to monitor an entire community for infection load and detect undiagnosed infections, potentially providing an early indicator of local outbreaks. If accurately quantified, changes in viral RNA level can reveal trends in infection prevalence to guide public health response.
A recent report describes sensitive, robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater using the Azure Cielo 6 RT-PCR System and purification kits and the multiplex GoTaq® Enviro Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 System detection assay from Promega.
In the application note below, SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels were normalized to levels of PMMoV (a plant virus found in feces) enabling quantitative analysis of changes in SARS-CoV-2 levels over time. The resulting quantitation correlated with case counts over a 6-month period.