The Water Research Foundation (WRF) published the recommended best practices from global experts that contributed to WRF’s international water research summit on wastewater surveillance of the genetic signal of COVID-19 sewersheds. This paper offers insight from global leaders on the current state of knowledge on wastewater sampling, molecular genetics tools, interpretation of results, and communication of this information to stakeholders. The summit also provided recommended near-term research opportunities related to wastewater surveillance of the genetic signal of COVID-19 in sewersheds. WRF is currently implementing several research projects to accelerate progress in this critically important area.
WRF is committed to meeting the evolving needs of its subscribers and the water sector. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific studies demonstrated that the genetic material of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—an enveloped RNA virus—could frequently be detected in the feces of infected individuals. This provided a strong indication that the genetic signal could potentially be detected in wastewater. WRF is funding additional research to support the global water sector as it investigates the potential for wastewater surveillance for the genetic signal of SARS-CoV-2 as an indication of the distribution of COVID-19 within a community.