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Rapid concentration of viruses from water

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EPD09032
Agency Tracking Number: B08D1-0137
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 08-NCER-D1
Solicitation Number: PR-NC-08-10259
Solicitation Year: 2009
Award Year: 2009
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2009-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2009-07-31
Small Business Information
12441 Beckley Street
Granger, IN 46530
United States
DUNS: 148374627
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Fu-Chih Hsu
 (574) 277-4078
Business Contact
 Fu-Chih Hsu
Title: President
Phone: (574) 277-4078
Research Institution

In the United States, several high profile outbreaks of waterborne illness during the past 15 years have highlighted the need for solutions to drinking water contamination.  Several recent studies suggest that approximately 20 percent of the surface and ground source waters in the U.S. are contaminated with viruses.  There is very little data, however, on virus occurrence in drinking water, which is mostly due to the absence of efficient methodologies that enable concentration and detection of viruses from water samples.  Most current methods are labor or time intensive, expensive, or impractical.  Therefore, there is an acute need for the development of concentration and detection technologies that enable efficient assay of viruses in water samples; these methods should be designed to be conducted directly in the field.  Scientific Methods, Inc., has designed a concentration device that can capture viruses from large amounts of water.  This device completely eliminates the need for a secondary concentration step and also increases the speed of concentration.  The objective of this project is the development of an integrated detection method that includes capture of viruses from large volumes of water followed by detection of viruses by multiplex real-time, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).  This project directly targets the following 2008 SBIR Phase I Research Topic:  D. Drinking Water and Water Monitoring; Improved detection and measurement techniques for microbial pathogens.  During Phase 1, two Specific Aims will be completed including:  (1) optimization of the sampling and concentration device, and demonstration of the ability to simultaneously capture two viruses from moderate (40-60 liters) volumes of tap water, river water, and irrigation water within 1-3 hours; and (2) demonstration that both viral RNA and DNA can be simultaneously extracted directly without elution, and detected and quantified by a multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay. 

During the Phase II period, Scientific Methods will develop a multiplex isothermal RT-PCR assay, so that both the viral capture and detection steps can be completed directly in the field.  Also, we will conduct in-field sampling of ground and surface water sources, and demonstrate the ability of the integrated capture and detection method to assay for the presence of viruses in these waters.  It is expected that water testing companies, research laboratories, municipalities, and government agencies will make use of the capture and concentration device, either in combination with their own downstream detection assays, or with the isothermal-based RT-PCR assay that will be created during Phase II.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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