WEBINAR SERIES A NIST-Hosted Webinar on Measuring SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater and Fecal Material: A Call for Standards



The current pandemic is due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus that causes a severe respiratory infection known as COVID-19. Recent reports have noted the presence of viral RNA in stool samples, offering unique measurement challenges and opportunities in three areas:

  1. Biosurveillance of Wastewater: Local public health labs can monitor sewage treatment facilities to measure the rise and fall of COVID-19 in a community; potentially as a tool to help predict future waves of outbreaks.

  2. Feces as a New Target for Diagnostic Testing:  Currently there are >140 commercially available COVID-19 diagnostic tests.  While initially validated using nasal swabs, these same tests can potentially be re-validated in fecal material.

  3. Fecal Microbiome Transplantation (FMT) Safety:  Every year, thousands of patients receive FMTs to treat infections and other health conditions. The FDA has released a safety alert stating donor material must be screened for COVID-19, as feasible.

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1:00 pm    Scott Jackson, NIST, Opening Remarks

1:05 pm    Bharat Ramakrishna, OpenBiome, “Fecal microbiota transplantation: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic”

1:20 pm    Manoj Dadlani, CosmosID, “Overcoming the Validation Challenges of a Diagnostic for SARS-CoV-2 in Stool”

1:35 pm    Katerina Papp, Water Quality R&D, Southern Nevada Water Authority, “Wastewater Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in Southern Nevada: Challenges for Sample Collection, Processing, and Analysis”

1:50 pm    Kyle Bibby, University of Notre Dame, Title TBA

2:05 pm    Aparna Keshaviah, Mathematica, “Testing Wastewater for SARS-CoV-2: Aligning Validation and Policy Needs”

2:20 pm    Panelist Q&A

2:55 pm    Scott Jackson, NIST, Wrap-Up

3:00 pm    Conclude Webinar