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Thermo Fisher Scientific Introduces New dPCR Wastewater Surveillance Kit and RNA Master Mix To Simplify Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Targets 

The QuantStudio Absolute Q Digital PCR System.
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The Applied Biosystems Absolute Q SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Kit* is designed to provide rapid and consistent absolute quantitation of relevant SARS-CoV-2 targets from wastewater samples using digital PCR (dPCR). With minimal hands-on time, the two-tube kit simplifies the dPCR workflow toward a 90-minute time to result, without the need for specialized training.  

Wastewater surveillance has emerged as an effective tool to identify and track SARS-CoV-2 transmission before a potential outbreak occurs, as infected individuals shed detectable viral RNA in human waste before becoming symptomatic. Monitoring community wastewater for these viral targets enables early detection to help guide public health response.  

Developed to streamline dPCR wastewater surveillance, the kit contains only two components: the triplex Absolute Q SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Assay and the Absolute Q 1-Step RT-dPCR Master Mix, which is optimized for multiplexing and to detect RNA targets without a separate reverse-transcription step. The RT-dPCR master mix eliminates upstream cDNA conversion steps for quantitative RNA analysis, saving time and resources.  

“We developed the Absolute Q Wastewater Surveillance Kit to help simplify and accelerate the critical role that wastewater testing plays in detecting SARS-CoV-2 before potential outbreaks occur to guide and inform public health response,” said Paul Hung, senior director and general manager, dPCR, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Seeing how infectious disease surveillance has become imperative to public health policy on a global scale, we anticipate that the Absolute Q RNA master mix can be leveraged to detect other relevant RNA viruses in the future.”  

Key Applications: 

Infectious disease surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in government public health and academic laboratories; viral RNA quantitation for biopharma/biotech; quantitative gene expression analysis 


  • Ease of use: Includes pre-mixed assays and Absolute Q 1-step RT-dPCR Master Mix (4X) for simple setup of qPCR-like workflow, with just five minutes of hands-on time.  
  • Speed to results: Offers faster turnaround time than other products on the market, with results available in less than two hours when run on the Absolute Q dPCR System.   
  • Consistent and reliable performance: Powered by microfluidic array plate (MAP) technology and wet-lab-verified dPCR assays, the kit uses TaqMan-based chemistry for exceptional data consistency.  
  • Multiplexing flexibility: The triplex assay targets two regions of the SARS-CoV-2 N gene and, in accordance with CDC guidelines, pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV) to enable fecal normalization. It leaves a fourth red dye channel free to enable multiplexing with an additional target of interest by combining the kit with a custom assay.  
  • High sensitivity: Absolute Q 1-step RT-dPCR Master Mix can detect <1 copy/uL of a specific RNA target within a 4-plex reaction, making it ideal for quantifying low levels of mRNA or viral RNA targets, and does not require a separate reverse transcription reaction.

*For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures