NEW YORK – Verily, an Alphabet health technology company, announced Monday that it has been awarded a contract to support the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Wastewater Surveillance System, or NWSS. The length and amount of the contract were not disclosed.
Under the terms of the contract, Verily's laboratories will provide NWSS participating sites with wastewater testing services to track the presence of SARS-CoV-2, MPXV (formerly known as monkeypox virus), and other pathogen nucleic acids in wastewater samples.
Specifically, the company will provide flexible testing for up to 400 participating treatment plants, a CDC spokesperson said in an email.
Verily will leverage its team of lab technicians, data scientists, and technology experts to generate data enabling national, state, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments to identify outbreaks and better understand disease trends, the firm said in a statement.
"Supporting the CDC and NWSS significantly extends Verily's footprint as a leading provider in real-time wastewater surveillance in the US and reinforces our vision of impacting public health worldwide," Verily CSO Andrew Trister said, adding, "The data provided by our work with the CDC will be transformative for public health interventions."
Verily has undertaken its wastewater testing along with Stanford and Emory Universities through a project called WastewaterSCAN. The program detected the presence of MPXV in California's wastewater using digital PCR before cases were identified through clinical testing, allowing local public health to focus the allocation of testing, outreach, and vaccine resources to appropriate areas, the firm said.
The NWSS program, established in September 2020, recently expanded the number of wastewater surveillance targets to approximately two dozen. The agency had previously contracted with Biobot Analytics to provide wastewater testing, but that contract ended on Sept. 15, the CDC spokesperson said. The agency awarded a new contract to Verily on Sept. 26.