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1.
Environ Res ; 214(Pt 2): 113931, 2022 Jul 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1965612

ABSTRACT

In this editorial piece, the Editors of the Virtual Special Issue (VSI) "The environment, epidemics, and human health" comment on the papers accepted for publication, which were selected after peer-reviewing among all those manuscripts submitted to the Special Issue. In view of the title of the VSI, it is clear that its aim goes beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to explore relations among environmental aspects, any kind of epidemics, and human health. However, COVID-19 is still hitting as a global and current main issue, causing that manuscripts dealing with this disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus are of high relevance in the whole set of research papers published.

2.
Water Res ; 220: 118621, 2022 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852231

ABSTRACT

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, wastewater surveillance has become an important tool for monitoring the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within communities. In particular, reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been used to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater, while monitoring viral genome mutations requires separate approaches such as deep sequencing. A high throughput sequencing platform (ATOPlex) that uses a multiplex tiled PCR-based enrichment technique has shown promise in detecting variants of concern (VOC) while also providing virus quantitation data. However, detection sensitivities of both RT-qPCR and sequencing can be impacted through losses occurring during sample handling, virus concentration, nucleic acid extraction, and RT-qPCR. Therefore, process limit of detection (PLOD) assessments are required to estimate the gene copies of target molecule to attain specific probability of detection. In this study, we compare the PLOD of four RT-qPCR assays (US CDC N1 and N2, China CDC N and ORF1ab) for detection of SARS-CoV-2 to that of ATOPlex sequencing by seeding known concentrations of gamma-irradiated SARS-CoV-2 into wastewater. Results suggest that among the RT-qPCR assays, US CDC N1 was the most sensitive, especially at lower SARS-CoV-2 seed levels. However, when results from all RT-qPCR assays were combined, it resulted in greater detection rates than individual assays, suggesting that application of multiple assays is better suited for the trace detection of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater samples. Furthermore, while ATOPlex offers a promising approach to SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance, this approach appears to be less sensitive compared to RT-qPCR under the experimental conditions of this study, and may require further refinements. Nonetheless, the combination of RT-qPCR and ATOPlex may be a powerful tool to simultaneously detect/quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNA and monitor emerging VOC in wastewater samples.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Waste Water/analysis , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
3.
Sci Total Environ ; 837: 155663, 2022 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1819600

ABSTRACT

Digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) is emerging as a reliable platform for quantifying microorganisms in the field of water microbiology. This paper reviews the fundamental principles of dPCR and its application for health-related water microbiology. The relevant literature indicates increasing adoption of dPCR for measuring fecal indicator bacteria, microbial source tracking marker genes, and pathogens in various aquatic environments. The adoption of dPCR has accelerated recently due to increasing use for wastewater surveillance of Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) - the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The collective experience in the scientific literature indicates that well-optimized dPCR assays can quantify genetic material from microorganisms without the need for a calibration curve and often with superior analytical performance (i.e., greater sensitivity, precision, and reproducibility) than quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Nonetheless, dPCR should not be viewed as a panacea for the fundamental uncertainties and limitations associated with measuring microorganisms in water microbiology. With dPCR platforms, the sample analysis cost and processing time are typically greater than qPCR. However, if improved analytical performance (i.e., sensitivity and accuracy) is critical, dPCR can be an alternative option for quantifying microorganisms, including pathogens, in aquatic environments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Water Quality , Humans , Public Health , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
4.
Sci Total Environ ; 835: 155347, 2022 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796127

ABSTRACT

Much of what is known and theorized concerning passive sampling techniques has been developed considering chemical analytes. Yet, historically, biological analytes, such as Salmonella typhi, have been collected from wastewater via passive sampling with Moore swabs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, passive sampling is re-emerging as a promising technique to monitor SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Method comparisons and disease surveillance using composite, grab, and passive sampling for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection have found passive sampling with a variety of materials routinely produced qualitative results superior to grab samples and useful for sub-sewershed surveillance of COVID-19. Among individual studies, SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations derived from passive samplers demonstrated heterogeneous correlation with concentrations from paired composite samples ranging from weak (R2 = 0.27, 0.31) to moderate (R2 = 0.59) to strong (R2 = 0.76). Among passive sampler materials, electronegative membranes have shown great promise with linear uptake of SARS-CoV-2 RNA observed for exposure durations of 24 to 48 h and in several cases RNA positivity on par with composite samples. Continuing development of passive sampling methods for the surveillance of infectious diseases via diverse forms of fecal waste should focus on optimizing sampler materials for the efficient uptake and recovery of biological analytes, kit-free extraction, and resource-efficient testing methods capable of rapidly producing qualitative or quantitative data. With such refinements passive sampling could prove to be a fundamental tool for scaling wastewater surveillance of infectious disease, especially among the 1.8 billion persons living in low-resource settings served by non-traditional wastewater collection infrastructure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
5.
Water Res ; 218: 118481, 2022 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1796028

ABSTRACT

Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 RNA in sewer systems, upstream of a wastewater treatment plant, is an effective approach for understanding potential COVID-19 transmission in communities with higher spatial resolutions. Passive sampling devices provide a practical solution for frequent sampling within sewer networks where the use of autosamplers is not feasible. Currently, the design of upstream sampling is impeded by limited understanding of the fate of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in sewers and the sensitivity of passive samplers for the number of infected individuals in a catchment. In this study, passive samplers containing electronegative membranes were applied for at least 24-h continuous sampling in sewer systems. When monitoring SARS-CoV-2 along a trunk sewer pipe, we found RNA signals decreased proportionally to increasing dilutions, with non-detects occurring at the end of pipe. The passive sampling membranes were able to detect SARS-CoV-2 shed by >2 COVID-19 infection cases in 10,000 people. Moreover, upstream monitoring in multiple sewersheds using passive samplers identified the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater one week ahead of clinical reporting and reflected the spatiotemporal spread of a COVID-19 cluster within a city. This study provides important information to guide the development of wastewater surveillance strategies at catchment and subcatchment levels using different sampling techniques.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , RNA, Viral , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306981

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to wastewater surveillance becoming an important tool for monitoring the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within communities. As a result, molecular methods, in particular reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), have been employed to generate large data sets aimed at the detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Although RT-qPCR is rapid and sensitive, there is no standard method that fits all use cases, there are no certified quantification standards and experiments are carried out using numerous different assays, reagents, instruments, and data analysis protocols. These variations can lead to the reporting of erroneous quantitative data resulting in potentially misleading interpretations and conclusions. We have reviewed the SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance literature focusing on the variability of RT-qPCR data as revealed by inconsistent standard curves and associated parameters. We find that variation in these parameters and deviations from best practices as described in The Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines suggest a lack of reproducibility and reliability in quantitative measurements of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater.

7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305004

ABSTRACT

Wastewater surveillance for pathogens using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is an effective, resource-efficient tool for gathering additional community-level public health information, including the incidence and/or prevalence and trends of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater may provide an early-warning signal of COVID-19 infections in a community. The capacity of the world’s environmental microbiology and virology laboratories for SARS-CoV-2 RNA characterization in wastewater is rapidly increasing. However, there are no standardized protocols nor harmonized quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance. This paper is a technical review of factors that can lead to false-positive and -negative errors in the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, culminating in recommendations and strategies that can be implemented to identify and mitigate these errors. Recommendations include, stringent QA/QC measures, representative sampling approaches, effective virus concentration and efficient RNA extraction, amplification inhibition assessment, inclusion of sample processing controls, and considerations for RT-PCR assay selection and data interpretation. Clear data interpretation guidelines (e.g., determination of positive and negative samples) are critical, particularly during a low incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Corrective and confirmatory actions must be in place for inconclusive and/or potentially significant results (e.g., initial onset or reemergence of COVID-19 in a community). It will also be prudent to perform inter-laboratory comparisons to ensure results are reliable and interpretable for ongoing and retrospective analyses. The strategies that are recommended in this review aim to improve SARS-CoV-2 characterization for wastewater surveillance applications. A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the efficacy of wastewater surveillance was demonstrated during this global crisis. In the future, wastewater will play an important role in the surveillance of a range of other communicable diseases.

8.
Water Res ; 213: 118132, 2022 Feb 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683665

ABSTRACT

Effective wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA requires the rigorous characterization of the limit of detection resulting from the entire sampling process - the process limit of detection (PLOD). Yet to date, no studies have gone beyond quantifying the assay limit of detection (ALOD) for RT-qPCR or RT-dPCR assays. While the ALOD is the lowest number of gene copies (GC) associated with a 95% probability of detection in a single PCR reaction, the PLOD represents the sensitivity of the method after considering the efficiency of all processing steps (e.g., sample handling, concentration, nucleic acid extraction, and PCR assays) to determine the number of GC in the wastewater sample matrix with a specific probability of detection. The primary objective of this study was to estimate the PLOD resulting from the combination of primary concentration and extraction with six SARS-CoV-2 assays: five RT-qPCR assays (US CDC N1 and N2, China CDC N and ORF1ab (CCDC N and CCDC ORF1ab), and E_Sarbeco RT-qPCR, and one RT-dPCR assay (US CDC N1 RT-dPCR) using two models (exponential survival and cumulative Gaussian). An adsorption extraction (AE) concentration method (i.e., virus adsorption on membrane and the RNA extraction from the membrane) was used to concentrate gamma-irradiated SARS-CoV-2 seeded into 36 wastewater samples. Overall, the US CDC N1 RT-dPCR and RT-qPCR assays had the lowest ALODs (< 10 GC/reaction) and PLODs (<3,954 GC/50 mL; 95% probability of detection) regardless of the seeding level and model used. Nevertheless, consistent amplification and detection rates decreased when seeding levels were < 2.32 × 103 GC/50 mL even for US CDC N1 RT-qPCR and RT-dPCR assays. Consequently, when SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations are expected to be low, it may be necessary to improve the positive detection rates of wastewater surveillance by analyzing additional field and RT-PCR replicates. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the SARS-CoV-2 PLOD for wastewater and provides important insights on the analytical limitations for trace detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater.

9.
Sci Total Environ ; 820: 153171, 2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629486

ABSTRACT

On the 26th of November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the newly detected B.1.1.529 lineage of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) the Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC). The genome of the Omicron VOC contains more than 50 mutations, many of which have been associated with increased transmissibility, differing disease severity, and potential to evade immune responses developed for previous VOCs such as Alpha and Delta. In the days since the designation of B.1.1.529 as a VOC, infections with the lineage have been reported in countries around the globe and many countries have implemented travel restrictions and increased border controls in response. We putatively detected the Omicron variant in an aircraft wastewater sample from a flight arriving to Darwin, Australia from Johannesburg, South Africa on the 25th of November 2021 via positive results on the CDC N1, CDC N2, and del(69-70) RT-qPCR assays per guidance from the WHO. The Australian Northern Territory Health Department detected one passenger onboard the flight who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, which was determined to be the Omicron VOC by sequencing of a nasopharyngeal swab sample. Subsequent sequencing of the aircraft wastewater sample using the ARTIC V3 protocol with Nanopore and ATOPlex confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant with a consensus genome that clustered with the B.1.1.529 BA.1 sub-lineage. Our detection and confirmation of a single onboard Omicron infection via aircraft wastewater further bolsters the important role that aircraft wastewater can play as an independent and unintrusive surveillance point for infectious diseases, particularly coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aircraft , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , Waste Water
10.
Sci Total Environ ; 808: 152033, 2022 Feb 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561034

ABSTRACT

In this study, 14 virus concentration protocols based on centrifugation, filtration, polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation and ultrafiltration were tested for their efficacy for the quantification of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples. These protocols were paired with four RNA extraction procedures resulting in a combination of 50 unique approaches. Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) was used as a process control and seeded in each wastewater sample subjected to all 50 protocols. The recovery of BRSV obtained through the application of 50 unique approaches ranged from <0.03 to 64.7% (±1.6%). Combination of centrifugation as the solid removal step, ultrafiltration (Amicon-UF-15; 100 kDa cut-off; protocol 9) as the primary virus concentration method, and Zymo Quick-RNA extraction kit provided the highest BRSV recovery (64.7 ± 1.6%). To determine the impact of prolonged storage of large wastewater sample volume (900 mL) at -20 °C on enveloped virus decay, the BRSV seeded wastewaters samples were stored at -20 °C up to 110 days and analyzed using the most efficient concentration (protocol 9) and extraction (Zymo Quick-RNA kit) methods. BRSV RNA followed a first-order decay rate (k = 0.04/h with r2 = 0.99) in wastewater. Finally, 21 wastewater influent samples from five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in southern Maryland, USA were analyzed between May to August 2020 to determine SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was quantifiable in 17/21 (81%) of the influent wastewater samples with concentration ranging from 1.10 (±0.10) × 104 to 2.38 (±0.16) × 106 gene copies/L. Among the RT-qPCR assays tested, US CDC N1 assay was the most sensitive followed by US CDC N2, E_Sarbeco, and RdRp assays. Data presented in this study may enhance our understanding on the effective concentration and extraction of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Waste Water , Animals , Cattle , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Ultrafiltration
11.
Sci Total Environ ; 799: 149386, 2021 Dec 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545398

ABSTRACT

To support public-health-related disease surveillance and monitoring, it is crucial to concentrate both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses from domestic wastewater. To date, most concentration methods were developed for non-enveloped viruses, and limited studies have directly compared the recovery efficiency of both types of viruses. In this study, the effectiveness of two different concentration methods (Concentrating pipette (CP) method and an adsorption-extraction (AE) method amended with MgCl2) were evaluated for untreated wastewater matrices using three different viruses (SARS-CoV-2 (seeded), human adenovirus 40/41 (HAdV 40/41), and enterovirus (EV)) and a wastewater-associated bacterial marker gene targeting Lachnospiraceae (Lachno3). For SARS-CoV-2, the estimated mean recovery efficiencies were significantly greater by as much as 5.46 times, using the CP method than the AE method amended with MgCl2. SARS-CoV-2 RNA recovery was greater for samples with higher titer seeds regardless of the method, and the estimated mean recovery efficiencies using the CP method were 25.1 ± 11% across ten WWTPs when wastewater samples were seeded with 5 × 104 gene copies (GC) of SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, the AE method yielded significantly greater concentrations of indigenous HAdV 40/41 and Lachno3 from wastewater compared to the CP method. Finally, no significant differences in indigenous EV concentrations were identified in comparing the AE and CP methods. These data indicate that the most effective concentration method varies by microbial analyte and that the priorities of the surveillance or monitoring program should be considered when choosing the concentration method.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Enterovirus , Viruses , Enterovirus/genetics , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Sewage , Waste Water
12.
Environ Int ; 158: 106938, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1466319

ABSTRACT

Controlling importation and transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from overseas travelers is essential for countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, and other island nations, that have adopted a suppression strategy to manage very low community transmission. Wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA has emerged as a promising tool employed in public health response in many countries globally. This study aimed to establish whether the surveillance of aircraft wastewater can be used to provide an additional layer of information to augment individual clinical testing. Wastewater from 37 long-haul flights chartered to repatriate Australians was tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Children 5 years or older on these flights tested negative for coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) (deep nasal and oropharyngeal reverse-transcription (RT)-PCR swab) 48 h before departure. All passengers underwent mandatory quarantine for 14-day post arrival in Howard Springs, NT, Australia. Wastewater from 24 (64.9 %) of the 37 flights tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. During the 14 day mandatory quarantine, clinical testing identified 112 cases of COVID-19. Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in repatriation flight wastewater using pooled results from three RT-qPCR assays demonstrated a positive predictive value (PPV) of 87.5 %, a negative predictive value (NPV) of 76.9 % and 83.7% accuracy for COVID-19 cases during the post-arrival 14-day quarantine period. The study successfully demonstrates that the surveillance of wastewater from aircraft for SARS-CoV-2 can provide an additional and effective tool for informing the management of returning overseas travelers and for monitoring the importation of SARS CoV-2 and other clinically significant pathogens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Australia , Child , Humans , RNA, Viral , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
13.
Curr Opin Environ Sci Health ; 2020 Sep 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385338

ABSTRACT

Monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater through the process of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) provides an additional surveillance tool, contributing to community-based screening and prevention efforts as these measurements have preceded disease cases in some instances. Numerous detections of SARS-CoV-2 RNA have been reported globally using various methods, demonstrating the technical feasibility of routine monitoring. However, in order to reliably interpret data produced from these efforts for informing public health interventions, additional quality control information and standardization in sampling design, sample processing, and data interpretation and reporting is needed. This review summarizes published studies of SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in wastewater as well as available information regarding concentration, extraction, and detection methods. The review highlights areas for potential standardization including considerations related to sampling timing and frequency relative to peak fecal loading times; inclusion of appropriate information on sample volume collected; sample collection points; transport and storage conditions; sample concentration and processing; RNA extraction process and performance; effective volumes; PCR inhibition; process controls throughout sample collection and processing; PCR standard curve performance; and recovery efficiency testing. Researchers are recommended to follow the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR (MIQE) guidelines. Adhering to these recommendations will enable robust interpretation of wastewater monitoring results and improved inferences regarding the relationship between monitoring results and disease cases.

14.
FEMS Microbes ; 2, 2021.
Article in English | PMC | ID: covidwho-1387875

ABSTRACT

People infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) shed the virus and its genetic material via their sputum, nasopharyngeal secretions, saliva, urine and feces (Cevik et al.2021). Hence, public health and water quality scientists throughout the world have been monitoring untreated and/or primary treated wastewater and sludge for the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in communities (https://arcg.is/1aummW). Numerous reviews have discussed the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to humans from exposure to wastewater or waters receiving untreated or inadequately treated wastewater based on limited empirical evidence (Adelodun et al. 2020;Bilal et al. 2020;Olusola-Makinde and Reuben 2020;Elsamadony et al. 2021;Khorram-Manesh, Goniewicz and Burkle 2021;Shutler et al. 2021). Multiple transmission routes have been suggested, including waterborne transmission, airborne transmission, contact with contaminated surfaces (fomites) and subsequent touching of mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, or eyes. Herein, we briefly summarize the empirical evidence pertaining to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with wastewater exposure.

15.
Sci Total Environ ; 805: 149877, 2022 Jan 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370681

ABSTRACT

Wastewater surveillance for pathogens using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is an effective and resource-efficient tool for gathering community-level public health information, including the incidence of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Surveillance of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in wastewater can potentially provide an early warning signal of COVID-19 infections in a community. The capacity of the world's environmental microbiology and virology laboratories for SARS-CoV-2 RNA characterization in wastewater is increasing rapidly. However, there are no standardized protocols or harmonized quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance. This paper is a technical review of factors that can cause false-positive and false-negative errors in the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater, culminating in recommended strategies that can be implemented to identify and mitigate some of these errors. Recommendations include stringent QA/QC measures, representative sampling approaches, effective virus concentration and efficient RNA extraction, PCR inhibition assessment, inclusion of sample processing controls, and considerations for RT-PCR assay selection and data interpretation. Clear data interpretation guidelines (e.g., determination of positive and negative samples) are critical, particularly when the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater is low. Corrective and confirmatory actions must be in place for inconclusive results or results diverging from current trends (e.g., initial onset or reemergence of COVID-19 in a community). It is also prudent to perform interlaboratory comparisons to ensure results' reliability and interpretability for prospective and retrospective analyses. The strategies that are recommended in this review aim to improve SARS-CoV-2 characterization and detection for wastewater surveillance applications. A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the efficacy of wastewater surveillance continues to be demonstrated during this global crisis. In the future, wastewater should also play an important role in the surveillance of a range of other communicable diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , Reproducibility of Results , Retrospective Studies , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
16.
Water Res ; 203: 117516, 2021 Sep 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1340885

ABSTRACT

Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, wastewater surveillance has become an important tool for monitoring the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within communities. In particular, reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been used to generate large datasets aimed at detecting and quantifying SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Although RT-qPCR is rapid and sensitive, there is no standard method yet, there are no certified quantification standards, and experiments are conducted using different assays, reagents, instruments, and data analysis protocols. These variations can induce errors in quantitative data reports, thereby potentially misleading interpretations, and conclusions. We review the SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance literature focusing on variability of RT-qPCR data as revealed by inconsistent standard curves and associated parameters. We find that variation in these parameters and deviations from best practices, as described in the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines suggest a frequent lack of reproducibility and reliability in quantitative measurements of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproducibility of Results , Reverse Transcription , Waste Water
17.
Pathogens ; 10(7)2021 Jun 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288971

ABSTRACT

In this study, we investigated the occurrence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA in primary influent (n = 42), secondary effluent (n = 24) and tertiary treated effluent (n = 34) collected from six wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs A-F) in Virginia (WWTP A), Florida (WWTPs B, C, and D), and Georgia (WWTPs E and F) in the United States during April-July 2020. Of the 100 wastewater samples analyzed, eight (19%) untreated wastewater samples collected from the primary influents contained SARS-CoV-2 RNA as measured by reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assays. SARS-CoV-2 RNA were detected in influent wastewater samples collected from WWTP A (Virginia), WWTPs E and F (Georgia) and WWTP D (Florida). Secondary and tertiary effluent samples were not positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA indicating the treatment processes in these WWTPs potentially removed SARS-CoV-2 RNA during the secondary and tertiary treatment processes. However, further studies are needed to understand the log removal values (LRVs) and transmission risks of SARS-CoV-2 RNA through analyzing wastewater samples from a wider range of WWTPs.

18.
Sci Total Environ ; 789: 147947, 2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240612

ABSTRACT

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been regarded as a potential tool for the prevalence estimation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the community. However, the application of the conventional back-estimation approach is currently limited due to the methodological challenges and various uncertainties. This study systematically performed meta-analysis for WBE datasets and investigated the use of data-driven models for the COVID-19 community prevalence in lieu of the conventional WBE back-estimation approach. Three different data-driven models, i.e. multiple linear regression (MLR), artificial neural network (ANN), and adaptive neuro fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) were applied to the multi-national WBE dataset. To evaluate the robustness of these models, predictions for sixteen scenarios with partial inputs were compared against the actual prevalence reports from clinical testing. The performance of models was further validated using unseen data (data sets not included for establishing the model) from different stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. Generally, ANN and ANFIS models showed better accuracy and robustness over MLR models. Air and wastewater temperature played a critical role in the prevalence estimation by data-driven models, especially MLR models. With unseen datasets, ANN model reasonably estimated the prevalence of COVID-19 (cumulative cases) at the initial phase and forecasted the upcoming new cases in 2-4 days at the post-peak phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. This study provided essential information about the feasibility and accuracy of data-driven estimation of COVID-19 prevalence through the WBE approach.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water
19.
Sci Total Environ ; 774: 145727, 2021 Jun 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071918

ABSTRACT

Levels of severe acute respiratory coronavirus type 2 (SARS CoV 2) RNA in wastewater could act as an effective means to monitor coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) within communities. However, current methods used to detect SARS CoV 2 RNA in wastewater are limited in their ability to process sufficient volumes of source material, inhibiting our ability to assess viral load. Typically, viruses are concentrated from large liquid volumes using two stage concentration, primary and secondary. Here, we evaluated a dead-end hollow fiber ultrafilter (D-HFUF) for primary concentration, followed by the CP Select™ for secondary concentration from 2 L volumes of primary treated wastewater. Various amendments to each concentration procedure were investigated to optimally recover seeded OC43 (betacoronavirus) from wastewater. During primary concentration, the D-HFUF recovered 69 ± 18% (n = 29) of spiked OC43 from 2 L of wastewater. For secondary concentration, the CP Select™ system using the Wastewater Application settings was capable of processing 100 mL volumes of primary filter eluates in <25 min. A hand-driven syringe elution proved to be significantly superior (p = 0.0299) to the CP Select™ elution for recovering OC43 from filter eluates, 48 ± 2% compared to 31 ± 3%, respectively. For the complete method (primary and secondary concentration combined), the D-HFUF and CP select/syringe elution achieved overall 22 ± 4% recovery of spiked OC43 through (n = 8) replicate filters. Given the lack of available standardized methodology confounded by the inherent limitations of relying on viral RNA for wastewater surveillance of SARS CoV 2, it is important to acknowledge these challenges when interpreting this data to estimate community infection rates. However, the development of methods that can substantially increase sample volumes will likely allow for reporting of quantifiable viral data for wastewater surveillance, equipping public health officials with information necessary to better estimate community infection rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water
20.
Sci Total Environ ; 761: 144216, 2021 Mar 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997517

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus which causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has spread rapidly across the globe infecting millions of people and causing significant health and economic impacts. Authorities are exploring complimentary approaches to monitor this infectious disease at the community level. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approaches to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in municipal wastewater are being implemented worldwide as an environmental surveillance approach to inform health authority decision-making. Owing to the extended excretion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool, WBE can surveil large populated areas with a longer detection window providing unique information on the presence of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases that are unlikely to be screened by clinical testing. Herein, we analysed SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 24-h composite wastewater samples (n = 63) from three wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from 24th of February to 1st of May 2020. A total of 21 samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2, ranging from 135 to 11,992 gene copies (GC)/100 mL of wastewater. Detections were made in a Southern Brisbane WWTP in late February 2020, up to three weeks before the first clininal case was reported there. Wastewater samples were generally positive during the period with highest caseload data. The positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in wastewater while there were limited clinical reported cases demonstrates the potential of WBE as an early warning system to identify hotspots and target localised public health responses, such as increased individual testing and the provision of health warnings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Australia , Humans , Queensland , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water
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