Wastewater surveillance has emerged as an effective tool to identify and track SARS-CoV-2 transmission before a potential outbreak occurs. Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 shed detectable viral RNA in human waste before becoming symptomatic. Monitoring community waste water for these viral targets enables early detection to help rapidly inform public health policies. Multiple organizations worldwide have begun working to leverage wastewater surveillance to monitor regional or city-level spread of the virus, analyze individual dorms on campuses to identify asymptomatic carriers, capture emerging mutations, and respond to possible infections.

As a tool that enables absolute quantification with an extremely low level of detection, digital PCR (dPCR) has been effective for wastewater surveillance, particularly because of its enhanced robustness against PCR inhibitors often found in more challenging sample types.

SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance

The Applied Biosystems Absolute Q SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Kit is designed to provide simple, rapid, and consistent absolute quantitation of relevant SARS-CoV-2 targets from wastewater samples by dPCR. This kit contains a triplex dPCR assay designed for simultaneous high-resolution detection and quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 N1 and N2 gene regions alongside pepper mild mottle virus, a common human fecal normalization target.

Features of the Absolute Q dPCR SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance kit include:

  • Ease of use—includes pre-mixed assays and Absolute Q 1-step RT-dPCR Master Mix (4X) for simple setup of qPCR-like workflow with just a few pipetting steps
  • Speed—absolute quantification of targets in less than two hours, including reaction preparation and data collection
  • Consistent and reliable performance—powered by microfluidic array plate (MAP) technology and wet-lab-verified dPCR assays using  TaqMan-based chemistry for exceptional data consistency
  • Multiplexing flexibility—the triplex assay leaves a fourth red dye channel free to enable multiplexing with your own target of interest by combining the kit with a custom assay  

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Custom dPCR assays

Are you interested in performing environmental or wastewater surveillance for targets other than SARS-CoV-2? Contact us and our experts can help design a dPCR assay formulated for success based on your target sequence of interest. Or submit the primer/probe sequences of your own design.

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The QuantStudio Absolute Q Digital PCR System

For effective, robust, and accurate routine monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, it is critical to simplify the testing process, maximize the amount of data collected per reaction, and minimize sample and reagent waste. Using the Applied Biosystems QuantStudio Absolute Q Digital PCR (dPCR) System, robust digital PCR data can be generated in under four hours with a simple workflow requiring just five minutes of hands-on preparation. Up to four optical channels can be leveraged to provide simultaneous multiplex detection of wastewater-relevant targets. The MAP16 digital PCR plates are powered by microfluidic array plate technology, which enables more than 95% of the loaded sample to be analyzed per reaction, ensuring highly-accurate digital PCR results.


What our customers have to say

Video: Hear from current users performing digital PCR analysis on wastewater samples

Robust digital PCR master mix solutions

For DNA/cDNA targets

Absolute Q DNA Digital PCR Master Mix (5X) is optimized for use with the QuantStudio Absolute Q Digital PCR System and Absolute Q digital PCR assays in a simple workflow with minimal processing steps.  The 5X formulation enables analysis of higher sample volume and delivers accurate quantification of DNA targets without using a standard curve.

Key product features:

  • Fast time-to-results—five minutes of hands-on time and results in ~90 minutes
  • High sensitivity—detect down to 0.1% mutant allele frequency
  • Optimized for multiplexing—detect up to four targets in a single reaction

For RNA targets

Absolute Q 1-step RT-dPCR Master Mix (4X) is optimized for use with the QuantStudio Absolute Q Digital PCR System. The mix is designed as a single‑tube, one‑step formulation for fast, simple, and reproducible RNA quantification, requiring minimal upstream processing steps.

Key product features:

  • Fast time-to-result—about five minutes of hands‑on time and results in less than two hours
  • Convenient one‑step formulation—save time and effort by eliminating upstream cDNA conversion steps
  • High sensitivity—detect <1 copy/μL of a specific target within a 4‑plex reaction
  • Optimized for multiplexing—detect up to four targets in a single reaction
  • High precision—distinguish 20% differences in RNA concentration

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For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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