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Environ Sci Technol ; 2022 Aug 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1972504


Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there has been much speculation about how COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance may be interconnected. In this study, untreated wastewater was sampled from Hospital A designated to treat COVID-19 patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside Hospital B that did not receive any COVID-19 patients. Metagenomics was used to determine the relative abundance and mobile potential of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs), prior to determining the correlation of ARGs with time/incidence of COVID-19. Our findings showed that ARGs resistant to macrolides, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines were positively correlated with time in Hospital A but not in Hospital B. Likewise, minor extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases of classes B and D were positively correlated with time, suggesting the selection of rare and/or carbapenem-resistant genes in Hospital A. Non-carbapenemase blaVEB also positively correlated with both time and intI1 and was copresent with other ARGs including carbapenem-resistant genes in 6 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). This study highlighted concerns related to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during the COVID-19 pandemic that may arise from antibiotic use and untreated hospital wastewater.

Water Res ; 199: 117167, 2021 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199119


The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater was first reported in March 2020. Over the subsequent months, the potential for wastewater surveillance to contribute to COVID-19 mitigation programmes has been the focus of intense national and international research activities, gaining the attention of policy makers and the public. As a new application of an established methodology, focused collaboration between public health practitioners and wastewater researchers is essential to developing a common understanding on how, when and where the outputs of this non-invasive community-level approach can deliver actionable outcomes for public health authorities. Within this context, the NORMAN SCORE "SARS-CoV-2 in sewage" database provides a platform for rapid, open access data sharing, validated by the uploading of 276 data sets from nine countries to-date. Through offering direct access to underpinning meta-data sets (and describing its use in data interpretation), the NORMAN SCORE database is a resource for the development of recommendations on minimum data requirements for wastewater pathogen surveillance. It is also a tool to engage public health practitioners in discussions on use of the approach, providing an opportunity to build mutual understanding of the demand and supply for data and facilitate the translation of this promising research application into public health practice.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Public Health , RNA, Viral , Waste Water
Glob Chall ; 5(4): 2000068, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1160536


Molecular diagnosis and surveillance of pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 depend on nucleic acid isolation. Pandemics at the scale of COVID-19 can cause a global shortage of proprietary commercial reagents and BSL-2 laboratories to safely perform testing. Therefore, alternative solutions are urgently needed to address these challenges. An open-source method, magnetic-nanoparticle-aided viral RNA isolation from contagious samples (MAVRICS), built upon readily available reagents, and easily assembled in any basically equipped laboratory, is thus developed. The performance of MAVRICS is evaluated using validated pathogen detection assays and real-world and contrived samples. Unlike conventional methods, MAVRICS works directly in samples inactivated in phenol-chloroform (e.g., TRIzol), thus allowing infectious samples to be handled safely without biocontainment facilities. MAVRICS allows wastewater biomass immobilized on membranes to be directly inactivated and lysed in TRIzol followed by RNA extraction by magnetic nanoparticles, thereby greatly reducing biohazard risk and simplifying processing procedures. Using 39 COVID-19 patient samples and two wastewater samples, it is shown that MAVRICS rivals commercial kits in detection of SARS-CoV-2, influenza viruses, and respiratory syncytial virus. Therefore, MAVRICS is safe, fast, and scalable. It is field-deployable with minimal equipment requirements and could become an enabling technology for widespread testing and wastewater monitoring of diverse pathogens.

Environ Res ; 195: 110748, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033702


There is increasing interest in wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) of SARS-CoV-2 RNA to serve as an early warning system for a community. Despite successful detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewaters sampled from multiple locations, there is still no clear idea on the minimal number of cases in a community that are associated with a positive detection of the virus in wastewater. To address this knowledge gap, we sampled wastewaters from a septic tank (n = 57) and biological activated sludge tank (n = 52) located on-site of a hospital. The hospital is providing treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infected patients, with the number of hospitalized patients per day known. It was observed that depending on which nucleocapsid gene is targeted by means of RT-qPCR, a range of 253-409 positive cases out of 10,000 persons are required prior to detecting RNA SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. There was a weak correlation between N1 and N2 gene abundances in wastewater with the number of hospitalized cases. This correlation was however not observed for N3 gene. The frequency of detecting N1 and N2 gene in wastewater was also higher than that for N3 gene. Furthermore, nucleocapsid genes of SARS-CoV-2 were detected at lower frequency in the partially treated wastewater than in the septic tank. In particular, N1 gene abundance was associated with water quality parameters such as total organic carbon and pH. In instances of positive detection, the average abundance of N1 and N3 genes in the activated sludge tank were reduced by 50 and 70% of the levels detected in septic tank, suggesting degradation of the SARS-CoV-2 gene fragments already occurring in the early stages of the wastewater treatment process.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Waste Water