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Sci Total Environ ; 883: 163599, 2023 Jul 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293985


Despite high vaccination rates in the Netherlands, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to circulate. Longitudinal sewage surveillance was implemented along with the notification of cases as two parts of the surveillance pyramid to validate the use of sewage for surveillance, as an early warning tool, and to measure the effect of interventions. Sewage samples were collected from nine neighborhoods between September 2020 and November 2021. Comparative analysis and modeling were performed to understand the correlation between wastewater and case trends. Using high resolution sampling, normalization of wastewater SARS-CoV-2 concentrations, and 'normalization' of reported positive tests for testing delay and intensity, the incidence of reported positive tests could be modeled based on sewage data, and trends in both surveillance systems coincided. The high collinearity implied that high levels of viral shedding around the onset of disease largely determined SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater, and that the observed relationship was independent of variants of concern and vaccination levels. Sewage surveillance alongside a large-scale testing effort where 58 % of a municipality was tested, indicated a five-fold difference in the number of SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals and reported cases through standard testing. Where trends in reported positive cases were biased due to testing delay and testing behavior, wastewater surveillance can objectively display SARS-CoV-2 dynamics for both small and large locations and is sensitive enough to measure small variations in the number of infected individuals within or between neighborhoods. With the transition to a post-acute phase of the pandemic, sewage surveillance can help to keep track of re-emergence, but continued validation studies are needed to assess the predictive value of sewage surveillance with new variants. Our findings and model aid in interpreting SARS-CoV-2 surveillance data for public health decision-making and show its potential as one of the pillars of future surveillance of (re)emerging viruses.

COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Wastewater , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , Sewage
Sci Total Environ ; 873: 162209, 2023 May 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2241724


Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater (WW) is a promising tool for epidemiological surveillance, correlating not only viral RNA levels with the infection dynamics within the population, but also to viral diversity. However, the complex mixture of viral lineages in WW samples makes tracking of specific variants or lineages circulating in the population a challenging task. We sequenced sewage samples of 9 WW-catchment areas within the city of Rotterdam, used specific signature mutations from individual SARS-CoV-2 lineages to estimate their relative abundances in WW and compared them against those observed in clinical genomic surveillance of infected individuals between September 2020 and December 2021. We showed that especially for dominant lineages, the median of the frequencies of signature mutations coincides with the occurrence of those lineages in Rotterdam's clinical genomic surveillance. This, along with digital droplet RT-PCR targeting signature mutations of specific variants of concern (VOCs), showed that several VOCs emerged, became dominant and were replaced by the next VOC in Rotterdam at different time points during the study. In addition, single nucleotide variant (SNV) analysis provided evidence that spatio-temporal clusters can also be discerned from WW samples. We were able to detect specific SNVs in sewage, including one resulting in the Q183H amino acid change in the Spike gene, that was not captured by clinical genomic surveillance. Our results highlight the potential use of WW samples for genomic surveillance, increasing the set of epidemiological tools to monitor SARS-CoV-2 diversity.

COVID-19 , Wastewater , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sewage , COVID-19/epidemiology