MANASSAS, Virginia – November 9, 2021 – Ceres Nanosciences (Ceres), a privately held company that makes innovative products to improve life science research and diagnostic testing, is announcing the establishment of nine new wastewater-based epidemiology centers of excellence, as part of the April 2021 $8.2 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative.
Wastewater-based epidemiology can help communities monitor infection dynamics for SARS-CoV-2 and can serve as an early-warning system for the virus in a population, but widespread implementation has been stymied by lack of robust, high-throughput viral concentration methods.
Ceres’ Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles address this problem by enabling rapid viral concentration directly from raw sewage, significantly reducing the time and effort required to process wastewater samples. These particles are compatible with a wide range of RNA extraction kits and detection methods, including reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), reverse transcription-droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR), and viral genome sequencing. Wastewater testing methods powered by the Nanotrap® Particles enable wastewater-based epidemiology at multiple levels in a community, including at the building level, at the neighborhoods sewershed level, and at the wastewater treatment plant level.
“Our customers have processed tens of thousands of samples from college dorms, K-12 schools, sleepaway camps, government facilities, and wastewater treatment plants,” said Ben Lepene, Chief Technology Officer at Ceres Nanosciences. “A recent study by one of our university customers showed that 85% of the individual COVID-19 cases on campus were preceded by positive wastewater results.”
Each Center of Excellence was selected based on its ability to utilize the expanded capacity to extend services into underserved and underprivileged communities and to provide critical information to public health decision makers. Each site received the materials and on-site training from Ceres’ field applications team to implement an automated protocol, which increases capacity to 100 samples per day and improves turnaround times to less than eight hours.
“These sites encompass non-profit, university, public health, and commercial testing labs in eight states with a total population of more than 120 million people,” said Tara Jones-Roe, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ceres Nanosciences. “We are very proud of this amazing set of organizations and look forward to identifying additional sites.”