The EMHP programme is led by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and run in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Environment Agency (EA), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), academia, and water companies. It provides coverage of approximately 40 million people across England.
The EMHP team coordinates with programmes in the devolved administrations to provide UK-wide wastewater monitoring. The programme tests sewage for fragments of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Untreated influent samples are taken from almost 300 Sewage Treatment Works (STWs) in England, 3 times a week.
A wastewater specific protocol has been published by Aaron Jeffries, Harry T Child (Univ. of Exeter), Steve Paterson (Univ. of Liverpool), Matthew Loose (Univ. of Nottingham), and Ronny van Aerle (Cefas). This protocol describes the procedure for generating cDNA libraries from SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid extracts from wastewater, using an adaptation of the Nimagen EasySeq™ SARS-CoV-2 Protocol v4.01 (https://www.nimagen.com/gfx/Covid19/protcol_NimaGen_covid_wgs_v401.pdf).