Wastewater disease monitoring kit scores positive pilot results

Dec. 29, 2022
FREDsense’s latest field test kit, the FRED-Extract System, has shown effective identification for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater through a three-phase pilot in Israel.

FREDsense announced that its FRED-Extract System, a wastewater disease monitoring solution, has shown positive results from its pilot in Israel.

The solution is a field test kit that hopes to provide lab-comparable water quality test results in half the time.

The kit’s three-phase pilot was born after Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit climate tech investor, awarded FREDsense an ‘Ohana Award prize for the project. The ‘Ohana Award celebrates collaboration and synergy, providing up to $100,000 for projects that outline how multiple companies in Elemental’s portfolio can implement new strategic and collaborative projects.

Since many infectious diseases can be found in fecal matter (including COVID-19), wastewater samples – such as sewage – are the medium of choice for governments, universities, corporations, and others to assess the health of a population. FREDsense provided its FRED-Extract system for analysis as well as training and troubleshooting support for the testing performed in Israel.

The pilot was a collaboration between FREDsense, Kando Environmental Services, Ben Gurion University in Israel, and Elemental Excelerator.

Ben Gurion University and professor Jacob Moran-Gilad provided qPCR data comparison and performed testing in Phases I and II. Testing found the United States Center for Disease Control N1 target of the COVID-19 genome, which was detected in 96 percent of instances in Phase I of testing, showing the test could be used for effective identification of viruses in wastewater. A larger test with 99 wastewater samples was conducted as a Phase II test in the field, resulting in approximately 80 percent detection under these more challenging circumstances.

Kando Environmental Services provided access to samples for SARS-CoV-2 analysis and performed Phase III testing in the field, demonstrating close results in a short time. Elemental Excelerator provided support and funding, and set the stage for the relationship between Kando and FREDsense.

"Water quality is so important to our lives and the pandemic illustrated how wastewater can be vital to keeping people safe in changing circumstances,” says David Lloyd, co-found and CEO of FREDsense. “Elemental’s ‘Ohana Award shows how working together allows us to use water quality to inform public health outcomes in real-time with results that support communities and decision makers.”

The resulting FRED-Extract system can extract purified genetic material from wastewater samples, enabling the on-site analysis of COVID-19 at less than $100 USD per sample.

"At Elemental, we are committed to our mission to redesign the systems at the root of climate change," says Kim Baker, elemental senior director of innovation at Elemental. "We were elated to collaborate and invest in this project that brought together FREDsense and Kando, empowering them to move forward on testing a solution that is more cost effective and can be deployed quickly in communities to bring critical knowledge to global health."