Wastewater surveillance using Bio-Rad's Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) is a comprehensive, cost-effective, highly sensitive way to detect specific variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in communities, allowing scientists and public health officials to monitor spread and take action.
Since symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals shed viral RNA in sewer systems, analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage networks provides information about COVID-19 infection within the community. Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) for detecting SARS-CoV-2 has been carried out in a range of countries, and a good correlation has been found between the number of COVID-19 cases and SARS-CoV-2 gene concentration in wastewater, forming a basis for the epidemiological role of wastewater testing (Medema et al. 2020). Wastewater based epidemiology has previously been used to track infectious diseases like polio, hepatitis A, and norovirus. The shed viruses are detectable in wastewater samples days before symptoms appear. Researchers can test these samples for specific viral genetic signatures without needing to perform extensive sequencing.
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