Detection of coronaviruses in wastewater

We support wastewater treatment plants, municipalities and industrial companies in implementing a corona early warning system. Throughout the entire process, from sampling and analysis to the precise evaluation and visualisation of the course of infection.

Detection is carried out using the RT-qPCR method (recommended by the EU Commission and ESI-CorA). The virus concentration in the wastewater is determined via the Ct value. The results are then normalised using the faecal indicator PMMoV and the dominant virus variant (alpha, beta, delta, omicron etc.) is identified. The results are displayed in our dashboard within a very short time as a time curve. Complete sequencing of the existing SARS-CoV-2 variants is also available on request.

NEW! qPCR VIT® Corona and qPCR Prep Wastewater test kits for reliable and robust monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples Learn more

On-site specialists

vermicon AG is the pioneer of wastewater microbiology. Together with our partner HPC AG, the experts in the quality assurance of sewer systems, we are committed to optimising reproducibility and reliability of results as well as customer-oriented support. Reliable, personal, accessible - these are the guiding principles that motivate us in this partnership.

Wastewater-based epidemiology

Wastewater-based epidemiology is an effective tool for supporting public health management. The monitoring of health-relevant viruses and bacteria in wastewater is not only a quick and inexpensive procedure, but also a reliable measure for recording the incidence of infection in entire communities.

How is SARS-CoV-2 and influenza been analyzed in wastewater?

In the webinar "Wastewater-based epidemiology: The early warning system", vermicon AG and HPC AG show the advantages of wastewater-based epidemiology, how such a system works in practice and why the sewer system should be included. Participation in the webinar is free of charge. Register now!

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SARS-CoV-2 Dashboard

The VIT® Vision Dashboard for the evaluation of wastewater-based epidemiological measurements clearly displays all essential information. It is continuously developed and adapted to new parameters and evaluation potentials.

More about VIT® Vision

Advantages over individual testing

Individual testing

  • Number of unreported cases, lack of systematisation and fluctuations in data collection

  • Physical and mental stress on individuals

  • No comprehensive overview of the true incidence of infection

  • High costs involved

  • High pollution factor

  • Prone to errors

Wastewater testing

  • Systematic, standardised and objective data collection

  • Secure, reality-based results

  • Comprehensive monitoring

  • Early detection of infection progression

  • Less effort (costs and manpower) in determining the extent of infection

  • Contribution to safe, reliable health management

Why analyse corona in wastewater?

Fragments of the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be found in the intestinal tract and therefore in the faeces of infected people. These can be detected in very low concentrations in wastewater samples long before the first symptoms appear. According to current data, wastewater surveillance therefore has an advantage of up to 2 weeks over personalised tests. In addition, the values determined are more realistic, as all residents of a particular catchment area are recorded and not just those who have been tested. The number of unreported cases of all infected persons and the dominant virus variant are reliably determined and the determination of the course of infection is much more precise, faster and cheaper with corona wastewater monitoring than individual medical tests.

At the beginning of 2021, the European Commission called on all its member states to set up a national wastewater surveillance system for coronavirus. Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria and other European countries have already implemented this requirement.


Timeline from infection to the detection of corona / SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater

Where can wastewater surveillance provide support?

In addition to collecting data from municipal wastewater treatment plants, wastewater monitoring also enables the early detection of the dynamics of the infection process in public facilities (retirement and nursing homes, schools, hospitals), manufacturing companies and office buildings. Wastewater-based epidemiology is guaranteed to bring the following benefits for all parties involved:

  • Lead time of up to 2 weeks
  • Realistic incidence values (no unreported cases)
  • Efficient planning of measures and resources
  • Protection for health and the environment


Municipalities benefit from the corona early warning system by establishing wastewater monitoring in the associated wastewater treatment plant. This allows behaviour patterns to be changed, measures to be taken and resources to be better planned. The aim is to reduce the burden on the population and not to burden them.

Industrial facilities

With a lead time of 1-2 weeks, it is possible to predict whether infections and therefore cases of illness will increase in the company. This allows preparations to be made and the deployment of resources and capacities to be optimised. Hotspots are narrowed down and workplace health is optimised.

Office building

Establishing a wastewater-based epidemiology as an early warning system promotes a healthy working environment and therefore has a positive impact on the well-being of employees and their performance. Preventive measures can be taken in good time to avoid staff shortages.