For a number of months now, Eurofins Scientific (Paris:ERF) has been monitoring wastewater in Denmark for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, through the regular (3 times per week) sampling of around 200 wastewater treatment plants across the country. Wastewater is an effective mirror of society, and wastewater testing is acknowledged as a way to monitor the virus’ spread and to detect new variants early, often before the first clinical cases are known.

On 1st December 2021, as part of the national surveillance programme, Eurofins received the regularly planned wastewater samples to be tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. In parallel, 80 samples were also tested through the Eurofins VIRType™ SARS-CoV-2 (L452R) and VIRType™ SARS-CoV-2 (K417N) kits, to potentially identify the presence of the Delta and Omicron variants, through rapid detection of single point K417N and L452R mutations respectively.

On 2nd December, 3 of these wastewater samples tested positive for the mutation K417N, indicating the likely presence of Omicron.

SSI was immediately informed, and the 3 positive samples shipped to them for confirmation through NGS sequencing. On 3rd December, the presence of Omicron was confirmed, providing the Danish authorities with very early warning of the presence of the new variant and allowing them to take the necessary measures rapidly. The first known human case of Omicron in Denmark was found on 27th November.

Scientific innovation, testing capacity and very close cooperation between Eurofins and the Danish authorities has enabled a fast response and targeted management of the pandemic.

Eurofins continues to innovate and make such services available to health authorities in many countries in Europe and beyond.

Notes to Editors:

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