Improve the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 detection in wastewater through sampling, handling, storage method optimisations, including spiked standards and quantification of uncertainties. Develop and optimise RNA extraction and recovery methods, including the use of spiked standards. Standardisation of pipeline for recovery and quantification of viral RNA by RT-qPCR and digital droplet PCR. Piloting of ‘paper-based sensor’ approach for low-cost quantification of viral RNA. Development and optimisation of ‘population normalisation’ approach for estimating the human population within a wastewater sample.

Key Outcomes

  • Improved quantitative recovery of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater and standardisation of pipeline for Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE) of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Quantification of uncertainties in the methods to improve estimation of COVID-19 cases.

Lead Scientists

  1. Marcos Quintela-Baluja (Newcastle University)
  2. Alex Corbishley (Edinburgh University)
  3. Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern (Bath University)
  4. David Graham (Newcastle University)
  5. David Allen (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  6. Kata Farkas (Bangor University)
  7. Terry Burke (Sheffield University)
  8. Davey Jones (Bangor University)
  9. Zhugen Yang (Cranfield University)