SARS-CoV-2 variant detection at a university dormitory using wastewater genomic tools

Van Vo, Richard L. Tillett, Ching Lan Chang, Daniel Gerrity, Walter Q. Betancourt, Edwin C. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In the Fall of 2020, university campuses in the United States resumed on-campus instruction and implemented wastewater monitoring for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). While quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests were deployed successfully to detect viral RNA in wastewater across campuses, the feasibility of detecting viral variants from a residential building like a dormitory was unclear. Here, we demonstrate that wastewater surveillance from a dormitory with at least three infected students could lead to the identification of viral genomes with more than 95% coverage. Our results indicate that viral variant detection from wastewater is achievable at a dormitory and that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wastewater surveillance programs will benefit from the implementation of viral whole genome sequencing at universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number149930
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jan 20 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Mutation
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sewage
  • Variant
  • Virus
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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