Wastewater Testing

An effective form of surveillance testing to examine the presence of a virus or pathogen in wastewater.

Wastewater Testing with Prenetics

By frequently testing the wastewater network for a virus, Prenetics are able to gain insight of a viral load, e.g. COVID-19, at any one time. By compiling this information over time, we are able to identify a trend in the levels of a particular virus in the community. If the levels start to increase, preventative measures can be taken.

What is Wastewater Testing?

Wastewater testing is a form of surveillance testing to examine the presence of a virus or pathogen in a sewage system. Wastewater testing is effective as viruses, e.g. COVID-19, are excreted by the human body in the early stages of an infection, often before the onset of symptoms. Scientific studies have shown that wastewater testing can provide warning up to seven days ahead of traditional in-person testing strategies.

Why Wastewater Testing for COVID-19?

Wastewater testing is essential in the fight against COVID-19 as the early indications of an outbreak can be detected in specific locations. If outbreaks occur, on-site individual testing can be deployed or a quarantine can be implemented.

Wastewater testing works for:

  • Early detection of viruses, including COVID-19
  • Detection of new strains of COVID-19
  • Detection of COVID-19 in asymptomatic cases
  • Monitoring the viral load within a specific community
  • Establishing duration of an infection within a community

What Device is Used?

A sampler is lowered into a water supply to gather waste water over a period of time. The sample collected is representative of all the waste flowing through that specific drainage system. This could be a single building, a block or a local area.

Once the sampler has been filled, the sample is taken to the laboratory for PCR analysis. For any single wastewater sample, different reagents can be used to test for different viruses or unwanted substances.

Prenetics have two types of sampler units-

  • Autosampling sampling units
  • Passive sampling units

Types of Implementation

Single site

A specific building or office block. Ideal for corporate headquarters or care homes.

System and process-

  • Autosampler, collecting multiple samples each day
  • Transported to Orpington laboratory for daily analysis

Multi site

A network of single sites, for example, sorting centres or prisons.

System and process-

  • Passive and/or Autosampler
  • Either daily transport to Orpington laboratory or deployment of on-site PCR lab

Campus

A larger land mass with multiple buildings. Ideal for a University, film studio lot or large prison.

System and process-

  • Passive and/or Autosampler
  • Either daily transport to Orpington laboratory or deployment of on-site PCR lab

Maritime

A navy vessel or cruise liner, either for use at sea or at dock. Detection at sea can prevent a port entry and spreading of the disease.

System and process-

  • Autosampler deployed prior to sewage treatment
  • Lab-based PCR analysis carried onboard the vessel

Prenetics’ Laboratory and Processes

Prenetics has a dedicated wastewater laboratory in Orpington, separate from our consumer COVID-19 testing laboratory in Greenwich.

Rather than the industry standard Gentier45 machine, Orpington uses a Digital PCR machine with the highest degree of accuracy of any COVID-19 test. This will not only show whether COVID-19 is present, but also the viral load, which is essential to spotting the early signs of an outbreak.

A typical result turnaround time is 3 hours from sample receipt at the laboratory.


What can we test?

  • COVID-19
  • Influenza
  • Norovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • RSV

Get in Touch

Fill out the form below if you'd like to speak to one of our special advisors about our wastewater testing capabilities.

Company Address: Prenetics EMEA Ltd, Unit 2, Orpington Business Park, Faraday Way, Orpington, Kent BR5 3AA, United Kingdom

Company Registration Number: 08834823

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