Shimadzu Techno-Research, Inc. (Kyoto), a contract analysis company and subsidiary of the Shimadzu Corporation, launched a new contract business to perform PCR tests for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in sewage at treatment plants on February 25.
The Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is known to be present in the feces of infected persons before they develop symptoms. Accordingly, if PCR tests are carried out on the sewage flowing into sewage treatment plants, it may be possible to identify communities where infections are about to spread.
Furthermore, it has also been noted that the virus remains in feces for approximately 20 days after a patient tests negative for viral material in saliva and throat swabs, suggesting that continued testing may help estimate when infections will come under control. However, the quantity of viral material released into the sewage is extremely small, and many other substances in the sewage can interfere with PCR testing, making it difficult to detect the virus.
To overcome the problem, Shimadzu Techno-Research, Inc. has been working on the detection of COVID-19 in sewage under the technical guidance of Professor Hiroaki Tanaka and assistant professor Masaru Ihara of Kyoto University, Associate Professor Ryo Honda of Kanazawa University, and Akihiko Hata, an lecturer at Toyama Prefectural University.
Following the Manual on Detecting the Novel Coronavirus in Sewage (Preliminary Edition), they took samples from sewage flowing into sewage treatment plants and sewage flowing out of primary sedimentation tanks and concentrated it using polyethylene glycol precipitation. They then used Shimadzu’s own Novel Coronavirus Detection Kit (research reagent) and found that they could detect COVID-19.
The Shimadzu Corporation has been producing and marketing various kits and devices for COVID-19 since last year, including the Novel Coronavirus Detection Kit, which greatly simplifies the complex pre-processing for PCR testing, the Ampdirect2019-nCoV Detection Kit, the Novel Coronavirus Detection Kit for Wipe Tests, and the AutoAmp Genetic analyzer for clinics that fully automate the PCR testing process.
Shimadzu Techno-Research, Inc. is also officially registered as a health inspection center in Kyoto City to carry out PCR testing operations.
This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.(https://sci-news.co.jp/). Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.