Improved recovery of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater through application of RNA and DNA stabilising agents

Stephen H Bell*, Danielle M Allen, Marina I Reyne, Jonathan F W Lock, Arthur Fitzgerald, Ashley Levickas, Andrew J Lee, Connor G G Bamford, Deirdre F Gilpin, John W McGrath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE) has become an integral part of the public health effort to track the levels of SARS-CoV-2 within communities. Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater can be challenging due to relatively low levels of virus within the sample. The wastewater matrix is also comprised of commercial and domestically derived contaminants, as well as RNases, all of which can adversely affect RT-qPCR analysis. To improve SARS-CoV-2 detection within wastewater samples we investigated both the effect of template dilution (as a means to reduce RT-qPCR inhibition) and sample stabilisation via addition of DNA/RNA Shield™ and/or RNA Later™ (to prevent RNA degradation via RNases) as a means to improve viral fragment detection. Using both methodologies a significant improvement in SARS-CoV-2 detection from wastewater samples was observed. No adverse effects of stabilising agent addition on downstream Next Generation Sequencing workflows were detected.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Early online date03 May 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 May 2023

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Applied Microbiology International.


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