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Title: Building-level wastewater surveillance using tampon swabs and RT-LAMP for rapid SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection
Wastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA has demonstrated useful correlation with both coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and clinical testing positivity at the community level. Wastewater surveillance on college campuses has also demonstrated promising predictive capacity for the presence and absence of COVID-19 cases. However, to date, such monitoring has most frequently relied upon composite samplers and reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) techniques, which limits the accessibility and scalability of wastewater surveillance, particularly in low-resource settings. In this study, we trialed the use of tampons as passive swabs for sample collection and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), which does not require sophisticated thermal cycling equipment, to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Results for the workflow were available within three hours of sample collection. The RT-LAMP assay is approximately 20 times less analytically sensitive than RT-droplet digital PCR. Nonetheless, during a building-level wastewater surveillance campaign concurrent with independent weekly clinical testing of all students, the method demonstrated a three-day positive predictive value (PPV) of 75% (excluding convalescent cases) and same-day negative predictive value (NPV) of 80% for incident COVID-19 cases. These predictive values are comparable to that reported by wastewater monitoring using RT-qPCR. These observations more » suggest that even with lower analytical sensitivity the tampon swab and RT-LAMP workflow offers a cost-effective and rapid approach that could be leveraged for scalable building-level wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 potentially even in low-resource settings. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
173 to 183
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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