Project Title

Development of a SARS-CoV-2 surveillance test for Kennesaw State University

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Molecular and Cellular Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Michael Beach

Disciplines

Molecular Genetics

Abstract (300 words maximum)

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, is shed in the feces of individuals with either symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. It has been demonstrated that its detection in wastewater precedes clinical diagnosis of new COVID-19 cases in the same community by approximate 7 days. Thus, wastewater detection of SARS-CoV-2 is now being viewed as a potential leading indicator of community infection. Many universities throughout the United State have begun their own COVID-19 surveillance projects to aid in monitoring, tracking and screening for infections on their campuses. Our goal was to develop a rapid protocol for sampling wastewater and subsequent testing of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater samples on our campus. To achieve this, we used a modified PEG-Salt precipitation method to concentrate the virus from wastewater samples. After concentration, we used a commercially available kit to isolate viral RNA. The purified RNA was quantified by RT-PCR using two primer sets specific for the N gene of SARS-CoV-2 provided by the CDC. We found that our precipitation, RNA purification, and RT-PCR protocols all performed as well as or better than what has been previously reported. We have now completed the development of a molecular-based surveillance test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the Kennesaw State campus that could be utilized at any time. Additionally, our protocols could be easily modified to monitor for other viruses or variants of SARS-CoV-2 found in wastewater in the future.

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Development of a SARS-CoV-2 surveillance test for Kennesaw State University

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, is shed in the feces of individuals with either symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. It has been demonstrated that its detection in wastewater precedes clinical diagnosis of new COVID-19 cases in the same community by approximate 7 days. Thus, wastewater detection of SARS-CoV-2 is now being viewed as a potential leading indicator of community infection. Many universities throughout the United State have begun their own COVID-19 surveillance projects to aid in monitoring, tracking and screening for infections on their campuses. Our goal was to develop a rapid protocol for sampling wastewater and subsequent testing of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater samples on our campus. To achieve this, we used a modified PEG-Salt precipitation method to concentrate the virus from wastewater samples. After concentration, we used a commercially available kit to isolate viral RNA. The purified RNA was quantified by RT-PCR using two primer sets specific for the N gene of SARS-CoV-2 provided by the CDC. We found that our precipitation, RNA purification, and RT-PCR protocols all performed as well as or better than what has been previously reported. We have now completed the development of a molecular-based surveillance test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus on the Kennesaw State campus that could be utilized at any time. Additionally, our protocols could be easily modified to monitor for other viruses or variants of SARS-CoV-2 found in wastewater in the future.

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