LINCOLN, Neb. — Neogen announced this week the launch of Early Warning COVID-19 testing for wastewater.
Neogen said its Early Warning solution is a piloted, accurate and reliable test to monitor for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus known to cause COVID-19, in sludge from wastewater facilities. With the test, Neogen said it can provide precise results that quickly identify new types of outbreaks, and also provide early signals of potential infections and surges within facilities.
"As the pandemic continues, our lab is in a strong position to assist in keeping people and communities safe through early detection, and to prevent further spread. The new test can provide a key tool medical experts say is needed to combat COVID-19," said John Adent, Neogen's president and CEO. "Our Early Warning solution provides the ability to systematically check more people for infections. It is ready to be deployed to municipalities, colleges, food processing, transportation and other industries so leaders can implement routine monitoring and keep businesses open, keep employees well informed and people safe."
The technology behind the Early Warning test is based on the research and innovation from immunologist and virologist expert, David Hirschberg, and the team at RAIN Incubator, a biotechnology solutions provider based in Tacoma, Wash.
"Using sewage testing as a tool in screening for pathogens has been in use globally for over a decade," said Hirschberg, RAIN's founder. "Sewage testing acts as a biosensor, much like a smoke alarm, that can identify potential threats to public health. Neogen's capabilities to bring sewage testing to a broader scale will be a critical tool in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and other future pathogens."
Neogen said Early Warning testing in wastewater screens a broad segment of the population and identifies the area of infection, so that specific resources can be directed to the appropriate geographic areas. Data from Early Warning testing can be used for entities to assess potential target testing of individuals in areas showing elevated viral loads. This allows vulnerable people to be isolated, decreasing the number of contacts between infected and healthy individuals and limiting the spread of the virus.
"Early warning reduces time, costs and risk," said Marylinn Munson, Neogen's vice president of genomics. "Quickly identifying areas of emerging infection through sewage testing enables teams and their communities to anticipate a surge of viral infections before they take off."