Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test
Public health studies show that testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 is an important epidemiological tool during the COVID-19 pandemic.1,2
The Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test is a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) test that detects and quantifies RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in untreated wastewater. Supported by an industry leader with over 20 years of experience manufacturing wastewater testing kits, public health departments, researchers, and laboratories can confidently deliver consistent results to help protect their communities.3
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- Validated protocol by manufacturer of market-leading wastewater tests, including the Colilert/Quanti-Tray method
- Built-in protocol flexibility for a highly dynamic matrix
- Validation on common RT-qPCR instruments3
- Highly sensitive RT-qPCR test, with detection of the N1 and N2 regions of the virus3
- Comprehensive quality-control protocols to ensure consistent results
- A history of an excellent supply chain: IDEXX Water has greater than 99.9% availability for key products3
- Sterile and consistent manufacturing facilities, compliant with ISO and GMP standards
- Technical support staff with decades of experience in wastewater
How to use
Step 1. Pasteurize the sample at 60°C for 1.5 hours. This step is optional.
Step 2. Concentrate the sample using PEG precipitation or equivalent.
Step 3. Extract the RNA using the Water DNA/RNA Magnetic Bead Kit.
Step 4. Amplify the purified nucleic acids using the Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test.
Product inserts and supporting documents
Learn more about the Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test
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Frequently asked questions
The Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test is a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) test that detects and quantifies the viral RNA in an appropriately prepared wastewater concentrate sample.
When used with the 105 ml concentration protocol, the lowest concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater that can be detected by the Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test is approximately 1 gene copy/1 mL.
The IDEXX-validated protocol concentrates the SARS-CoV-2 virus from 105 mL of wastewater. Laboratory staff may analyze larger or smaller water volumes by performing the basic procedure scaled for different input volumes with appropriate centrifugation equipment.
The Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test analyzes 5 µL of extracted RNA prepared from a wastewater concentrate sample, although we recommend having additional volume on hand to account for pipetting loss and duplicate samples.
The IDEXX-validated protocol concentrates the wastewater sample using a combination of centrifugation and polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation and can be modified to meet your specific laboratory needs. Other concentration methods may also be used, such as ultrafiltration, manifold filtration, etc. These methods should be validated to verify performance.
Maintaining a cold sample temperature helps to prevent sample degradation and ensure efficient precipitation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test has been validated for use with the Water DNA/RNA Magnetic Bead Kit for extraction of nucleic acids, including SARS-CoV-2 RNA, from a wastewater concentrate. The magnetic bead kit can either be run manually or performed using an automated magnetic processor. See product insert for additional details.
For each set of wastewater samples tested with the Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test, a PCR positive control, a PCR negative control, an extraction positive control, and an extraction negative control should be analyzed at the same time. A method control should also be performed to verify expected results.
Please refer to the product inserts for recommended storage conditions at time of product receipt and after reconstitution/first use.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that a biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) laboratory with additional precautions can be used for environmental sample testing, including handling and processing wastewater samples associated with SARS-CoV-2. Specific guidance is available from the U.S. CDC: Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).4
Consult your local health authority for specific recommendations.
Follow local health authorities’ recommended procedures for handling and processing of wastewater samples associated with SARS-CoV-2. One source of information is published by the U.S. CDC: Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).4
Follow all local regulatory and safety guidelines.
An optional heat treatment process may be used to inactivate samples through pasteurization, if desired. See the product insert for an example.
A pasteurization step may reduce SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection. Please contact an IDEXX account representative for additional information.
The Water SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test is not U.S. EPA approved for testing for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The U.S. EPA does not currently regulate SARS-CoV-2 wastewater testing or approve testing methods for this purpose. Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater may or may not be regulated by your local and/or state authorities. Please check for regulations that may apply in your area.
Water Customer Support
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
One IDEXX Drive
Westbrook, Maine 04092 USA
- Wurtzer S, Marechal V, Mouchel J-M, et al. Evaluation of lockdown impact on SARS-CoV-2 dynamics through viral genome quantification in Paris wastewaters [preprint posted May 6, 2020]. medRxiv. doi:10.1101/2020.04.12.20062679
- Medema G, Heijnen L, Elsinga G, Italiaander R, Brouwer A. Presence of SARS-Coronavirus-2 in sewage [preprint posted March 30, 2020]. medRxiv. doi:10.1101/2020.03.29.20045880
- Data on file at IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. Westbrook, Maine USA.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim laboratory biosafety guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/lab-biosafety-guidelines.html. Revised June 3, 2020. Accessed July 7, 2020.