NIH contract awarded for wastewater-based surveillance of COVID-19

April 22, 2021

Ceres Nanosciences, a privately held diagnostic testing company, has been awarded a contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) Initiative for $8.2 million to support the development and implementation of wastewater-based surveillance systems for COVID-19.

Ceres said it will work closely with a multidisciplinary team of scientists at Emory University to develop and implement a wastewater-based COVID-19 surveillance framework in the metro-Atlanta area with a focus on use cases for underserved and vulnerable populations, such as correctional facilities, low-income neighborhoods, and long-term care facilities.

Ceres said that wastewater surveillance can help communities monitor spatial and temporal trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection at a population level, but widespread implementation has been stymied by the lack of a sensitive, rapid, high-throughput viral concentration method. Ceres Nanosciences’ Nanotrap Magnetic Virus Particles captures and concentrates virus directly from raw sewage prior to RNA extraction and detection and can be readily adapted for small-scale as well as large-scale surveillance systems, the company added.

“This collaboration between Ceres and Emory will generate robust evidence to support the CDC’s objective of developing a national wastewater surveillance system that meets the information needs of city, county, and state decision makers to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple use cases in underserved community settings,” said Christine Moe, PhD, Eugene J. Gangarosa Chair in Safe Water and Sanitation at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

In parallel, Ceres will be identifying and launching a network of centers of excellence for high-throughput wastewater-based COVID-19 surveillance.

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