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Wastewater EDITED 003 (1)



[Music plays and a split circle appears, and images move through each half of the circle of photos of different CSIRO activities, and then the image morphs into the CSIRO logo]


[Image changes to show a view of researchers working in a lab, and then the camera zooms in to show a close view of a researcher, a machine, and a lab coat being taken from a hook]


Narrator: CSIRO researchers have developed a set of sensitive methods for detecting SARS COVID-2 genetic fragments in wastewater.


[Images move through to show a researcher putting on a lab coat, a close view of the researcher putting on gloves, the researcher operating a machine, and a researcher working on a computer]


An important aspect of wastewater surveillance is the ability to rapidly and cost effectively divert data from a large population across thousands of individuals,


[Image changes to show a hazard sign in the laboratory, a close view of a biohazard sign, a close view of tweezers being placed in a Bunsen burner flame, and a hand shaking a sample in a bottle]


with enough potential sensitivity to detect a small number of infected individuals contributing SARS COVID-2 RNA into the local wastewater systems.


[Image shows the bottle being unscrewed, and then images move through of liquid being poured into a clear glass container, a container being put into a machine, and the lid of the machine being closed]


This pooling concept can be particularly important for regions with no clinical COVID-19 testing rates, minimal resources, or no known cases.


[Images move through to show a sample being put into a machine, a researcher operating the machine, the Ecosciences Precinct building, and a rear view of a male entering a building]


We receive up to 100 wastewater samples a week from 45 wastewater treatment plants across Queensland. Delivery of samples is managed by our collaborators from University of Queensland.


[Images move through of a researcher taking a test tube from a tray, a test tube being filled, and a researcher picking up a disc with tweezers and placing it on the top of a glass type funnel]


The sample analysis process is complex and involves many steps and specialised instruments.


[Image changes to show a researcher placing a clamp around a glass funnel, and then the image changes to show the researcher pouring liquid into a glass jug at the top of the apparatus]


SARS COVID-2 are typically diluted in wastewater considering the small number of cases in Queensland.


[Image changes to show a close view of the liquid being poured, a close view of the apparatus being used, and a glass funnel on the apparatus]


So, detecting this virus requires a concentration step. This step is very crucial for trace detections.


[Image changes to show a researcher with three sample jugs on top of three Bunsen burners and the camera zooms in on one of the sample jugs]


We have refined several virus concentration methods to achieve the best results.


[Images move through to show a sample being put inside a test tube, a female researcher placing a long syringe into the test tube, and then a close view of liquid being drawn up into the syringe]


We use these methods based on the sample type for the sensitivity required and urgency of test results.


[Image changes to show two samples in a tray, and then the image changes to show the samples being placed into a machine, and then the image changes to show a hand operating a control panel]


After virus concentration we extract RNA, which is a small genetic fragment of the SARS COV-2 virus.


[Image changes to show the machine vibrating the sample tubes, and then the image changes to show a researcher looking at the sample tube]


This fragment is not infectious.


[Images move through to show a sample being put into a machine, a male researcher working on a computer, his hand on the mouse, and then the screen he is working on]


Once the run is completed critical analysis of results take place, the samples are cross checked alongside all quality controls to verify the result and then we report it to Queensland Health.


[Camera zooms in on the digital images on the screen he is working on]


And this is one of CSIRO’s responses to the management of the current pandemic.


[Music plays and the image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]



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