Public health

Wastewater-based epidemiology

Verily is a leader in the laboratory science behind wastewater-based epidemiology. In collaboration with scientific organizations, government agencies, and commercial organizations, our scientists conduct research to develop and validate assays needed to consistently and accurately measure the concentration of viral and bacterial DNA and RNA for a variety of pathogens in wastewater.

Verily is working closely with public health specialists, clinicians, and researchers to use the data from wastewater to explore various use cases ranging from improving existing public health surveillance systems to optimizing research and development efforts.

Our approach

Verily’s researchers are on the leading edge of identifying pathogens of public health importance that can be detected in wastewater.

We currently have implemented assays to test for 13 pathogens and are conducting research and development into several more. We work with our partners to identify pathogens of interest and develop approaches to monitor these in wastewater. 

Currently available

Respiratory pathogens:

  • SARS-CoV-2 

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) A & B

  • Influenza A

  • Influenza B

  • Human metapneumovirus

  • Parainfluenza 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B

  • Adenovirus 40/41

Gastroenteric pathogens:

  • Norovirus GII

  • EV-D68

  • Rotavirus

Pathogens of public health importance: 

  • Mpox virus

  • C. auris

  • Hepatitis A

Scientist drawing a wastewater sample

The Verily difference

Verily provides quality, fast turnaround wastewater monitoring results for a broad array of pathogens to hundreds of sites across the United States using our high-throughput, state-of-the-art lab leveraging automation to optimize efficiency

Publications co-authored


Results delivered since 2020


Pathogens currently monitored

Dashboard showing SARS CoV-2 sample data. Data is representational.

Monitoring the health of communities

The detection and quantification of pathogens through wastewater can provide advanced warning, before clinical testing or hospitalizations, to help communities prepare and respond. 

Verily provides an easy to understand online tool to monitor the level of viruses circulating in the geographic areas from which samples are submitted, providing timely information for public health awareness and action.

  1. Wolfe, M.K., Pailos, A.H., Zulli, A., Duong, D., Shelden, B., White, B.J., and Boehm, A.B. December 2023. Wastewater Detection of Emerging Arbovirus Infections: Case Study of Dengue in the United States. Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 11(1), pp. 9-15. DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00769.
  2. Boehm, A. B., Wadford, D. A., Hughes, B., Duong, D., Chen, A., Padilla, T., Wright,C., Moua, L., Bullick, T., Salas, M., Morales, C., White, B.J., Glaser, C.A., Vugia, D.J., Yu, A.T., and Wolfe, M.K. November 2023. Trends of enterovirus D68 concentrations in wastewater in two California communities parallel trends of statewide confirmed cases, February 2021-April 2023. Emerging Infectious Disease, 29(11). DOI: 10.3201/eid2911.231080.
  3. Shaw, A.G., Troman, C., Akello, J.O., O’Reilly, K.M., Gauld, J., Grow, S., Grassly, N., Steele, D., Blazes, D., Kumar, S. and the Environmental Surveillance Working Group*. Aug. 2023. Defining a research agenda for environmental wastewater surveillance of pathogens. Nat Med. 29. DOI: 10.1038/s41591-023-02457-7. *White, B.J. and Yaffe, B. part of Environmental Surveillance Working Group
  4. Boehm, A. B., Wolfe, M. K., White, B. J., Hughes, B., Duong, D., Banaei, N., and Bidwell, A. Aug. 2023. “Human norovirus (HuNoV) GII RNA in wastewater solids at 145 United States wastewater treatment plants: comparison to positivity rates of clinical specimens and modeled estimates of HuNoV GII shedders”. J. Expo. Sci. Environ. Epidemiol., pp. 1– 8. DOI: 10.1038/s41370-023-00592-4.
  5. Boehm, A. B., Wolfe, M. K., White, B. J., Hughes, B., Duong, D., & Bidwell, A. July 2023. More than a Tripledemic: Influenza A Virus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, SARS-CoV-2, and Human Metapneumovirus in Wastewater during Winter 2022–2023. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 10(8), 622-627. DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00385.
  6. Kadonsky, K.F., Naughton, C.C., Susa, M., Olson, R., Singh, G.L., Daza-Torres, M.L., Montesinos-López, J.C., Garcia, Y.E., Gafurova, M., Gushgari, A., Cosgrove, J., White, B.J., Boehm, A.B., Wolfe, M.K., Nuño, M., Bishchel, H.N. June. 2023. Expansion of wastewater-based disease surveillance to improve health equity in California’s Central Valley: sequential shifts in case-to-wastewater and hospitalization-to-wastewater ratios. Frontiers in Pub. Health, 11. DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1141097.
  7. Boehm, A. B., Wolfe, M. K., White, B. J., Hughes, B., and Duong, D. June 2023. “Divergence of wastewater SARS-CoV-2 and reported laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 incident case data coincident with wide-spread availability of at-home COVID-19 antigen tests”. PeerJ 11, e15631. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.15631.
  8. Boehm, A. B., Wolfe, M. K., Wigginton, K. R., Bidwell, A., White, B. J., Hughes, B., Duong, D., Chan-Herur, V., Bischel, H. N., and Naughton, C. C. June 2023. “Human viral nucleic acids concentrations in wastewater solids from Central and Coastal California USA”. Sci Data 10.1, p. 396. DOI: 10.1038/s41597-023-02297-7.
  9. Boehm, A. B., Hughes, B., Duong, D., Chan-Herur, V., Buchman, A., Wolfe, M. K., and White, B. J. Mar. 2023. “Wastewater concentrations of human influenza, metapneumovirus, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and seasonal coronavirus nucleic-acids during the COVID-19 pandemic: a surveillance study”. Lancet Microbe 4.5, e340– e348. DOI: 10.1016/S2666-5247(22)00386-X.
  10. Wolfe, M. K., Yu, A. T., Duong, D., Rane, M. S., Hughes, B., Chan-Herur, V., Donnelly, M., Chai, S., White, B. J., Vugia, D. J., and Boehm, A. B. Jan. 2023. “Use of Wastewater for Mpox Outbreak Surveillance in California”. N. Engl. J. Med. 388.6, pp. 570–572. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2213882.
  11. Kim, S., Wolfe, M. K., Criddle, C. S., Duong, D. H., Chan-Herur, V., White, B. J., and Boehm, A. B. Nov. 2022. “Effect of SARS-CoV-2 digital droplet RT-PCR assay sensitivity on COVID-19 wastewater based epidemiology”. PLOS Water 1.11, e0000066. DOI: 10.1371/journal. pwat.0000066. 
  12. Roldan-Hernandez, L., Graham, K. E., Duong, D., and Boehm, A. B. Nov. 2022. “Persistence of Endogenous SARS-CoV-2 and Pepper Mild Mottle Virus RNA in Wastewater-Settled Solids”. ACS ES T Water 2.11, pp. 1944–1952. DOI: 10.1021/acsestwater.2c00003.
  13. Wolfe, M. K., Duong, D., Bakker, K. M., Ammerman, M., Mortenson, L., Hughes, B., Arts, P., Lauring, A. S., Fitzsimmons, W. J., Bendall, E., Hwang, C. E., Martin, E. T., White, B. J., Boehm, A. B., and Wigginton, K. R. Aug. 2022. “Wastewater-Based Detection of Two Influenza Outbreaks”. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 9.8, pp. 687–692. DOI: 10.1021/acs. Estlett.2c00350.
  14. Boehm, A. B., Hughes, B., Wolfe, M. K., White, B. J., Duong, D., and Chan-Herur, V. June 2022. “Regional Replacement of SARS-CoV-2 Variant Omicron BA.1 with BA.2 as Observed through Wastewater Surveillance”. Environ Sci Technol Lett 9.6, pp. 575–580. DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00266.
  15. Huisman, J. S., Scire, J., Caduff, L., Fernandez-Cassi, X., Ganesanandamoorthy, P., Kull, A., Scheidegger, A., Stachler, E., Boehm, A. B., Hughes, B., Knudson, A., Topol, A., Wigginton, K. R., Wolfe, M. K., Kohn, T., Ort, C., Stadler, T., and Julian, T. R. May 2022. “Wastewater-based estimation of the effective reproductive number of SARS-CoV-2”. Env- iron. Health Perspect. 130.5, p. 57011. DOI: 10.1289/EHP10050.
  16. Schoen, M. E., Wolfe, M. K., Li, L., Duong, D., White, B. J., Hughes, B., and Boehm, A. B. May 2022. “SARS-CoV-2 RNA Wastewater Settled Solids Surveillance Frequency and Impact on Predicted COVID-19 Incidence Using a Distributed Lag Model”. ACS ES T Water 2.11, pp. 2167–2174. DOI: 10.1021/acsestwater.2c00074.
  17. Wolfe, M., Hughes, B., Duong, D., Chan-Herur, V., Wigginton, K. R., White, B. J., and Boehm, A. B. Apr. 2022. “Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Mu, Beta, Gamma, Lambda, Delta, Alpha, and Omicron in Wastewater Settled Solids Using Mutation-Specific Assays Is As- sociated with Regional Detection of Variants in Clinical Samples”. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 88.8, e0004522. DOI: 10.1128/aem.00045-22.
  18. Yu, A. T., Hughes, B., Wolfe, M. K., Leon, T., Duong, D., Rabe, A., Kennedy, L. C., Ravuri, S., White, B. J., Wigginton, K. R., Boehm, A. B., and Vugia, D. J. Mar. 2022. “Estimat- ing Relative Abundance of 2 SARS-CoV-2 Variants through Wastewater Surveillance at 2 Large Metropolitan Sites, United States”. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 28.5, pp. 940–947. DOI: 10.3201/eid2805.212488. 
  19. Hughes, B., Duong, D., White, B. J., Wigginton, K. R., Chan, E. M. G., Wolfe, M. K., and Boehm, A. B. Feb. 2022. “Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) RNA in Wastewater Settled Solids Reflects RSV Clinical Positivity Rates”. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 9.2, pp. 173–178. DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00963. 
  20. Kim, S., Kennedy, L. C., Wolfe, M. K., Criddle, C. S., Duong, D. H., Topol, A., White, B. J., Kantor, R. S., Nelson, K. L., Steele, J. A., Langlois, K., Griffith, J. F., Zimmer-Faust, A. G., McLellan, S. L., Schussman, M. K., Ammerman, M., Wigginton, K. R., Bakker, K. M., and Boehm, A. B. Feb. 2022. “SARS-CoV-2 RNA is enriched by orders of magnitude in primary settled solids relative to liquid wastewater at publicly owned treatment works”. Environ. Sci. 8.4, pp. 757–770. DOI: 10.1039/d1ew00826a.
  21. Kirby, A. E., [...], White, B. J., et al. Jan. 2022. “Notes from the Field: Early Evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) Variant in Community Wastewater - United States, November-December 2021”. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 71.3, pp. 103–105. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7103a5.
  22. Wolfe, M. K., Topol, A., Knudson, A., Simpson, A., White, B.J., Vugia, D. J., Yu, A. T., Li, L., Balliet, M., Stoddard, P., Han, G. S., Wigginton, K. R., and Boehm, A. B. Sept. 2021. “High- Frequency, High-Throughput Quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Wastewater Settled Solids at Eight Publicly Owned Treatment Works in Northern California Shows Strong As- sociation with COVID-19 Incidence”. mSystems 6.5, e0082921. DOI: 10.1128/mSystems. 00829-21.
  23. Simpson, A., Topol, A., White, B. J., Wolfe, M. K., Wigginton, K. R., and Boehm, A. B. Aug. 2021. “Effect of storage conditions on SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification in wastewater solids”. PeerJ 9, e11933. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.11933.