LuminUltra wins new CDC wastewater testing contract

LuminUltra Technologies has partnered with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) to collect and test wastewater for the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as genetic mutations associated with the Omicron and Delta variants.

LuminUltra will provide SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance data at 500 sites across the US, from mid-December 2021 to March 2022 as part of the next phase in the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS).

Mark McIntosh, vice-president, applied services, LuminUltra, explained: “We were one of the first labs in the country to offer SARS-CoV-2 wastewater testing and variant sequencing. With LuminUltra’s technical expertise, including the ability to detect the Omicron and Delta variants in wastewater, and our commercial capabilities, including a fleet of mobile testing laboratories, we are in an ideal position to meet the CDC’s needs for this project.”

The Omicron variant emerged last November, and the CDC will be relying on LuminUltra’s wastewater testing solution to detect the genetic mutations associated with both the Omicron and Delta variants, making data available to state, territorial and Native American governments. Participating utilities and the public will also be able to access data from this project through the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker website.

The CDC began the National Wastewater Surveillance System in September 2020 to provide community-level data on COVID-19 infection trends. Wastewater data collected and analysed from participating utilities has been used to support response decision-making, including resource allocation, refining health messaging, the location of mobile testing laboratories, and forecasting of cases and hospitalisations.