FREDERICTON, NB, Jan. 6, 2022 – Twenty correctional facilities across California, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington are using LuminUltra Technologies’ innovative wastewater testing solution to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.
The world’s first rapid, on-site testing solution for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater was developed by LuminUltra Technologies, a global leader in biological diagnostic testing, in collaboration with Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S.
“We developed this test as a response to the consumer and community need for same-day test results,” said Jordan Schmidt, Ph.D., director of product applications at LuminUltra. “We recognized that people need solutions that are accessible and cost-efficient, and through our partnership with Dalhousie University, we created a wastewater test for the virus that provides accurate, rapid results on-site.”
The pilot program bringing the technology to U.S. prisons is being launched through funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in coordination with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), state governments, and Hach Company, a global leader in water analysis.
Wastewater surveillance can detect the presence of COVID-19 in a population days before those infected begin showing symptoms. But before this rapid testing solution was developed, wastewater testing for the virus was complicated and time-consuming, requiring samples to be collected at facilities and sent to outside labs for analysis.
By the time samples were shipped to labs, tests were conducted, and the data was compiled, results would take days or weeks to come back, and by then the data would not be helpful in minimizing the spread. Now, data can be produced and analyzed on site in hours, allowing for immediate action. This is particularly important in correctional facilities, where close proximity can quickly lead to large outbreaks.
Each correctional facility participating in the pilot will be using LuminUltra’s GeneCount® Q-16 qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) testing device. With a simple and quick extraction method and an easy-to-use laboratory qPCR analyzer, the device provides actionable results on site within a few hours of sample collection.
LuminUltra is a biotechnology leader with expertise developing tests and reagents for environmental, industrial, and clinical diagnostic monitoring. Customers around the world rely on its technology and production reliability. LuminUltra is on an accelerated growth path, acquiring multiple companies in recent years and forming a vital partnership with private equity firm XPV Water Partners.