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Qiagen, GT Molecular Partner to Offer Digital PCR Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 Detection

NEW YORK – Qiagen will collaborate with GT Molecular to offer SARS-CoV-2 wastewater detection assays on a digital PCR platform, the firms announced Tuesday.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The "complete wastewater solution" will combine Qiagen's QIAcuity digital PCR instruments and sample preparation with SARS-CoV-2 assays from GT molecular used to detect the virus in wastewater, the firms said in a statement.

Specifically, the workflow integrates multiplex dPCR with Qiagen's AllPrep PowerViral DNA/RNA Kit, which the firms noted leverages patented inhibitor removal technology to improve detection for wastewater-based epidemiology, or WBE.

The solution, which the firms said launched in August, offers time to results of less than two and a half hours and complies with guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for wastewater surveillance. It is also designed for use in Canada and other countries worldwide, the firms noted.

"There are various methods and workflows for testing for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, and developing and optimizing them can be challenging and time consuming," said Thomas Schweins, senior VP of Qiagen's life science business area. "Qiagen and GT Molecular are offering a comprehensive solution for detection of SARS-CoV-2 and variants that significantly reduces the upfront time investment for our customers working in public health," Schweins added.

Christopher McKee, CEO of Fort Collins, Colorado-based GT Molecular, suggested the solution could play a key role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our ultra-sensitive assay and the QIAcuity platform have combined to form a fast, easy-to-use and highly accurate system for tracking and managing the spread of COVID-19," he also said.

GT Molecular also offers assays to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants in wastewater, as previously reported.

Qiagen launched an RT-qPCR wastewater assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 in January. Digital PCR purportedly has the advantage of being more resistant to inhibitors than traditional RT-qPCR as well as allowing for direct quantification, both of which could be useful for WBE. Other firms currently offering SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance workflows on digital PCR platforms include Bio-Rad Laboratories and Combinati.