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Sci Total Environ ; 807(Pt 2): 150838, 2022 Feb 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458763


During the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been engaged to complement medical surveillance and in some cases to also act as an early diagnosis indicator of viral spreading in the community. Most efforts worldwide by the scientific community and commercial companies focus on the formulation of protocols for SARS-CoV-2 analysis in wastewater and approaches addressing the quantitative relationship between WBE and medical surveillance are lacking. In the present study, a mathematical model is developed which uses as input the number of daily positive medical tests together with the highly non-linear shedding rate curve of individuals to estimate the evolution of global virus shedding rate in wastewater along calendar days. A comprehensive parametric study by the model using as input actual medical surveillance and WBE data for the city of Thessaloniki (~700,000 inhabitants, North Greece) during the outbreak of November 2020 reveals the conditions under which WBE can be used as an early warning tool for predicting pandemic outbreaks. It is shown that early warning capacity is different along the days of an outbreak and depends strongly on the number of days apart between the day of maximum shedding rate of infected individuals in their disease cycle and the day of their medical testing. The present data indicate for Thessaloniki an average early warning capacity of around 2 days. Moreover, the data imply that there exists a proportion between unreported cases (asymptomatic persons with mild symptoms that do not seek medical advice) and reported cases. The proportion increases with the number of reported cases. The early detection capacity of WBE improves substantially in the presence of an increasing number of unreported cases. For Thessaloniki at the peak of the pandemic in mid-November 2020, the number of unreported cases reached a maximum around 4 times the number of reported cases.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Pandemics , Wastewater , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
Infect Genet Evol ; 79: 104212, 2020 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-41


BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) associated with human to human transmission and severe human infection has been recently reported from the city of Wuhan in China. Our objectives were to characterize the genetic relationships of the 2019-nCoV and to search for putative recombination within the subgenus of sarbecovirus. METHODS: Putative recombination was investigated by RDP4 and Simplot v3.5.1 and discordant phylogenetic clustering in individual genomic fragments was confirmed by phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. RESULTS: Our analysis suggests that the 2019-nCoV although closely related to BatCoV RaTG13 sequence throughout the genome (sequence similarity 96.3%), shows discordant clustering with the Bat_SARS-like coronavirus sequences. Specifically, in the 5'-part spanning the first 11,498 nucleotides and the last 3'-part spanning 24,341-30,696 positions, 2019-nCoV and RaTG13 formed a single cluster with Bat_SARS-like coronavirus sequences, whereas in the middle region spanning the 3'-end of ORF1a, the ORF1b and almost half of the spike regions, 2019-nCoV and RaTG13 grouped in a separate distant lineage within the sarbecovirus branch. CONCLUSIONS: The levels of genetic similarity between the 2019-nCoV and RaTG13 suggest that the latter does not provide the exact variant that caused the outbreak in humans, but the hypothesis that 2019-nCoV has originated from bats is very likely. We show evidence that the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is not-mosaic consisting in almost half of its genome of a distinct lineage within the betacoronavirus. These genomic features and their potential association with virus characteristics and virulence in humans need further attention.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , Recombination, Genetic , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2