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LuminUltra Wins 500-Site CDC Wastewater Testing Contract

NEW YORK – LuminUltra Technologies has won a contract from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to surveil wastewater from 500 US sites for SARS-CoV-2 and to track mutations associated with the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus.

Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The environmental testing firm will partner with the CDC's National Wastewater Surveillance System and the Water Environment Federation to collect and test wastewater from mid-December 2021 to March 2022. LuminUltra will assist participating water processing utilities to coordinate sample collection and shipment, with the cost of the program covered by the CDC, the firm said in a statement.

According to LuminUltra's website, the SARS-CoV-2 surveillance can be performed on-site without a lab using the firm's GeneCount qPCR device, while variant testing is performed by the firm's Source Molecular subsidiary using qPCR and next-generation sequencing.

The CDC began the NWSS in September 2020 to provide community wastewater-based epidemiology data on COVID-19 infection trends.

Mark McIntosh, VP of applied services, said in a statement that LuminUltra was one of the first labs in the country to offer SARS-CoV-2 wastewater testing and variant sequencing.

"With LuminUltra's technical expertise, including the ability to detect the Omicron and Delta variants in wastewater, and our commercial capabilities, including a fleet of mobile testing laboratories, we are in an ideal position to meet the CDC's needs for this project," McIntosh said.

The CDC will rely on LuminUltra's wastewater testing solution to detect the genetic mutations associated with both the Omicron and Delta variants, making data available to state, territorial, and Native American governments, the firm said.

Participating utilities and the public will also be able to access data from this project through the CDC's COVID Data Tracker website.

Pat Whalen, CEO of LuminUltra, noted that bidding for the contract was "very competitive," but that the firm was selected because it put together "the most compelling technical and financial proposal."

New Brunswick, Canada-based LuminUltra acquired Miami-based Source Molecular, a provider of laboratory-based testing for the microbial source tracking of pathogens, last year.