Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater ("CoMoTH")

Motivation and goal

The Corona pandemic has unveiled an ongoing need for multidisciplinary research on various aspects of the COVID-19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on the EU recommendation to establish a systematic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewater, the university and industrial partners of this collaborative research project are developing and validating a system to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The monitoring system will provide a scientific basis to establish reliable, comprehensive, and sustainable SARS-CoV-2 monitoring strategies for wastewater. The system will help detect infection outbreaks at an early and local level.

Objectives and expected results

In this project, representative spots in municipal wastewater treatment plants will be selected to sample sensor data relevant to SARS-CoV-2 and antibiotic resistance. The sensor data will be processed, integrated into a digital dashboard, and analyzed using AI algorithms. The industrial project partners will explore limitations of existing algorithms applied to SARS-CoV-2 and antibiotic resistance analysis, aiming to overcome the current limitations by enabling automation and process integration of the strategies proposed in this project. As a result, a reliable and cost-efficient approach towards monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater is expected to be achieved. In particular, the following questions will be addressed: What is an appropriate data sampling strategy? How can quality assurance of wastewater be optimized? What are crucial factors affecting the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and what are future strategies to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater treatment plants?

Project partners

  • Bauhaus University Weimar (coordinator)
  • Analytik Jena GmbH
  • Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences

Associated partners

  • Thuringian State Administration Office
  • Thuringian State Office for the Environment, Mining and Nature Conservation
  • Eurofins GmbH
  • Thuringian Innovation Center for Medical Technology Solutions
  • InfectoGnostics Jena e.V.
  • Research Network InfectControl
  • German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA)


Professor Dr. Kay Smarsly
Hamburg University of Technology
Institute of Digital and Autonomous Construction
Blohmstraße 15
21079 Hamburg
Email: kay.smarsly(at)tuhh(dot)de