On Aug. 14, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the state would be offering $500,000 in grant funding to support wastewater testing in Onondaga County, Albany, Newburgh and Buffalo.

Wastewater testing is only a part of the Quadrant testing regimen. Once a wastewater test comes back to show a presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a second step of pooled testing comes in.

Quadrant has also developed a non-invasive saliva test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, based on its existing Clarifi testing platform. According to peer-reviewed data, the Clarifi saliva test is the third-most sensitive COVID test available in the U.S., surpassing the tests developed by LabCorp, Boston Medical Center and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention by a significant margin.

That test serves as a second step in its testing regimen to be used when a college or local health department begins to see an increase in the viral load of its wastewater systems, or as a first-step surveillance testing system for places that do not use wastewater testing.

The Clarifi COVID-19 test, which has Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, can be used for pooled or individual testing. With pooled testing, up to 25 people can submit saliva samples, which will be combined together and run in one test.

If a pooled test were to come back positive, each individual person who submitted a sample for that test would have to get a second, individual test to indicate who in the pooled group actually has the virus.

“The speed is much higher, and the cost is much lower, because you’re only doing one test, not 25,” Mr. Heslop said.

Both Mr. Heslop and Dr. Du said there’s much more work to be done during the coronavirus pandemic to understand the virus, the disease it causes and how best to combat it. Even if a vaccine is developed and distributed nationally, both Mr. Heslop and Dr. Du said there will be an ongoing need to test, contact trace and monitor cases until the vaccine has been given to a majority of people.

He said there are also applications for wastewater surveillance testing for other viruses, and Quadrant intends to continue studying those opportunities for the foreseeable future.

“On the COVID side, the pandemic, it’s easy to see that we’ll be on the subject for another six months to a year, minimum,” Mr. Heslop said. “On the viral side, loading and understanding, (Dr. Du) has a career ahead of her.”

Dr. Du said the severity of COVID-19 provided the motivation necessary for the scientific community to dive deep into these areas of viral research, and what scientists have learned could be applied to any number of other viral diseases.

“There’s no reason we can’t apply what we’ve learned to other diseases,” Dr. Du said, “and because of that, the scientific community and also the government, I think, are now more interested in using this mode of surveillance in the future.”