COVIDready - Decentralized SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in sewage: R&D of a validated surveillance method for routine laboratories at wastewater treatment plants


The EU Commission has strongly encouraged all Member States to put in place a national wastewater surveillance system targeted at data collection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewaters. In this recommendation C(2021) 1925, also Germany is strongly encouraged to set up a national monitoring system for SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in all cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants as soon as possible and no later than 1 October 2021, with a sampling frequency of at least two wastewater samples per week and to report the analysis data to the competent health authorities within 48 hours. This applies to 56 cities in Germany, and more than 200 wastewater treatment plants in size class GK5 have a capacity of more than 100,000 PE. For the implementation in the decentrally organised German water sector, virological laboratory capacities are lacking.

The objective of the COVIDready project is therefore to optimise and validate practical methods that can be used in "normal" wastewater laboratories with prefabricated test kits to quantify the viral load and as an early warning system for selected mutants. For this purpose, the consortium of Aachener Wasserforschung ISA and FiW e.V., the University Hospital Frankfurt, Lippeverband and the associated industrial partners QIAGEN and Endress+Hauser will establish a partially automated workflow and evaluate it with samples from representative sewage treatment plants in the Lippe areas. Particular positive samples are further analysed in the laboratory using digital dPCR. This workflow is coordinated with actors at the state and federal level in order to establish transferable methods for the implementation of a wastewater-based epidemiology.


Information about Research Project COVIDready

Funding agency

Federal Ministry of Education and Research


July 2021 to May 2022

Project Manager

Regina Dolny, M. Sc.

Project Partner

Forschungsinstitut Für Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaft an der RWTH Aachen e.V. (FiW), Aachen
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main
Lippeverband, Dortmund