Rapid Concentration of Viruses from Water

EPA Contract Number: EPD10063
Title: Rapid Concentration of Viruses from Water
Investigators: Wong, Choi-lok Rebecca
Small Business: Scientific Methods, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2012
Project Amount: $224,987
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2010) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


In the United States, several high profile outbreaks of waterborne illness during the past 15 years have highlighted the need for a solution to drinking water contamination. Several recent studies suggest that approximately 20 percent of surface and ground source waters in the United States are contaminated with viruses. There are very few data on virus occurrence in drinking water, however, which is mainly attributed to the absence of efficient methodologies that enable concentration and detection of viruses from water samples. Most current methods are labor or time intensive, expensive, or impractical. Therefore, there is an acute need for the development of concentration and detection technologies that enable efficient assay of viruses in water samples, and these methods should be designed to be conducted directly in the field. Scientific Methods, Inc. (SMI) has designed a concentration device that can capture viruses from large amounts of water. The device completely eliminates the need for a secondary concentration step and also increases the speed of concentration.

The objective of this Phase II SBIR project is the development of an integrated detection method that includes capture of human enteric viruses as well as coliphages from large volumes of water followed by detection of the viruses by multiple real-time, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). During the Phase II period SMI plans to develop a multiple isothermal RT-PCR assay so that both the viral capture and detection steps can be completed directly in the field. Also, in-field sampling of ground and surface water sources will be conducted, and the ability of the integrated capture and detection method to assay for the presence of viruses in these waters will be demonstrated. It is expected that water testing companies, research laboratories, municipalities, and government agencies will make use of the capture and concentration device, either in combination with their own downstream detection assays or with the isothermal-based RT-PCR assay that will be created during Phase II.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, drinking water, water monitoring, drinking water contamination, viruses, virus concentration, virus detection, water pollution, virus assays, human enteric viruses, coliphages, groundwater, surface water, RT-PCR, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, virus concentration, in-field sampling, detection assays,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Rapid Concentration of Viruses from Water