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Int J Hyg Environ Health ; 242: 113948, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783418


There is increasing evidence of the use of wastewater-based epidemiology to integrate conventional monitoring assessing disease symptoms and signs of viruses in a specific territory. We present the results of SARS-CoV-2 environmental surveillance activity in wastewater samples collected between September 2020 and July 2021 in 9 wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) located in central and western Sicily, serving over 570,000 residents. The presence of SARS-CoV-2, determined in 206 wastewater samples using RT-qPCR assays, was correlated with the notified and geo-referenced cases on the areas served by the WTPs in the same study period. Overall, 51% of wastewater samples were positive. Samples were correlated with 33,807 SARS-CoV-2 cases, reported in 4 epidemic waves, with a cumulative prevalence of 5.9% among Sicilian residents. The results suggest that the daily prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 active cases was statistically significant and higher in areas with SARS-CoV-2 positive wastewater samples. According to these findings, the proposed method achieves a good sensitivity profile (78.3%) in areas with moderate or high viral circulation (≥133 cases/100,000 residents) and may represent a useful tool in the management of epidemics based on an environmental approach, although it is necessary to improve the accuracy of the process.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pilot Projects , Sicily/epidemiology , Wastewater , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
Microorganisms ; 8(12)2020 Dec 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024611


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can cause serious illness in older adults and people with chronic underlying medical conditions; however, children and young people are often asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. We evaluated the presence of specific antibodies (Abs) response against Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) S protein epitopes (NL63-RBM1, NL63-RBM2_1, NL63-RBM2_2, NL63-RBM3, NL63-SPIKE541-554, and NL63-DISC-like) and SARS-CoV-2 epitopes (COV2-SPIKE421-434 and COV2-SPIKE742-759) in plasma samples of pre-pandemic, mid-pandemic, and COVID-19 cohorts by indirect ELISA. Moreover, a competitive assay was performed to check for cross reactivity response between COV2-SPIKE421-434 and NL63-RBM3 among patients with a definitive diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. Immune reaction against all SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-NL63 epitopes showed a significantly higher response in pre-pandemic patients compared to mid-pandemic patients. The results indicate that probably antibodies against HCoV-NL63 may be able to cross react with SARS-CoV-2 epitopes and the higher incidence in pre-pandemic was probably due to the timing of collection when a high incidence of HCoV-NL63 is reported. In addition, the competitive assay showed cross-reactivity between antibodies directed against COV2-SPIKE421-434 and NL63-RBM3 peptides. Pre-existing HCoV-NL63 antibody response cross reacting with SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in both pre- and mid-pandemic individual, suggesting that previous exposure to HCoV-NL63 epitopes may produce antibodies which could confer a protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and probably reduce the severity of the disease.