- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 504 to 520
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in commercial passenger aircraft and cruise ship wastewater: a surveillance tool for assessing the presence of COVID-19 infected travellersAbstract Background Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can be an important source of information for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) management during and after the pandemic. Currently, governments and transportation industries around the world are developing strategies to minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission associated with resuming activity. This study investigated the possible use of SARS-CoV-2 RNA wastewater surveillance from airline and cruise ship sanitation systems and its potential use as a COVID-19 public health management tool. Methods Aircraft and cruise ship wastewater samples (n = 21) were tested for SARS-CoV-2 using two virus concentration methods, adsorption–extraction by electronegative membrane (n = 13) and ultrafiltration by Amicon (n = 8), and five assays using reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and RT-droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR). Representative qPCR amplicons from positive samples were sequenced to confirm assay specificity. Results SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in samples from both aircraft and cruise ship wastewater; however concentrations were near the assay limit of detection. The analysis of multiple replicate samples and use of multiple RT-qPCR and/or RT-ddPCR assays increased detection sensitivity and minimized false-negative results. Representative qPCR amplicons were confirmed for the correct PCR product by sequencing. However, differences in sensitivity were observed among molecular assays and concentrationmore »
SARS-CoV-2 RNA is enriched by orders of magnitude in primary settled solids relative to liquid wastewater at publicly owned treatment worksWastewater-based epidemiology has gained attention throughout the world for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater to supplement clinical testing. Raw wastewater consists of small particles, or solids, suspended in liquid. Methods have been developed to measure SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the liquid and the solid fraction of wastewater, with some studies reporting higher concentrations in the solid fraction. To investigate this relationship further, six laboratories collaborated to conduct a study across five publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) where both primary settled solids obtained from primary clarifiers and raw wastewater influent samples were collected and quantified for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Settled solids and influent samples were processed by participating laboratories using their respective methods and retrospectively paired based on date of collection. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations, on a mass equivalent basis, were higher in settled solids than in influent by approximately three orders of magnitude. Concentrations in matched settled solids and influent were positively and significantly correlated at all five POTWs. RNA concentrations in both settled solids and influent were correlated to COVID-19 incidence rates in the sewersheds and thus representative of disease occurrence; the settled solids methods appeared to produce a comparable relationship between SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration measurements and incidence rates across allmore »
Subsewershed SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance and COVID-19 Epidemiology Using Building-Specific Occupancy and Case DataTo evaluate the use of wastewater-based surveillance and epidemiology to monitor and predict SARS-CoV-2 virus trends, over the 2020–2021 academic year we collected wastewater samples twice weekly from 17 manholes across Virginia Tech’s main campus. We used data from external door swipe card readers and student isolation/quarantine status to estimate building-specific occupancy and COVID-19 case counts at a daily resolution. After analyzing 673 wastewater samples using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), we reanalyzed 329 samples from isolation and nonisolation dormitories and the campus sewage outflow using reverse transcription digital droplet polymerase chain reaction (RT-ddPCR). Population-adjusted viral copy means from isolation dormitory wastewater were 48% and 66% higher than unadjusted viral copy means for N and E genes (1846/100 mL to 2733/100 mL/100 people and 2312/100 mL to 3828/100 mL/100 people, respectively; n = 46). Prespecified analyses with random-effects Poisson regression and dormitory/cluster-robust standard errors showed that the detection of N and E genes were associated with increases of 85% and 99% in the likelihood of COVID-19 cases 8 days later (incident–rate ratio (IRR) = 1.845, p = 0.013 and IRR = 1.994, p = 0.007, respectively; n = 215), and one-log increases in swipe card normalized viral copiesmore »
Building-level wastewater surveillance using tampon swabs and RT-LAMP for rapid SARS-CoV-2 RNA detectionWastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA has demonstrated useful correlation with both coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases and clinical testing positivity at the community level. Wastewater surveillance on college campuses has also demonstrated promising predictive capacity for the presence and absence of COVID-19 cases. However, to date, such monitoring has most frequently relied upon composite samplers and reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) techniques, which limits the accessibility and scalability of wastewater surveillance, particularly in low-resource settings. In this study, we trialed the use of tampons as passive swabs for sample collection and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), which does not require sophisticated thermal cycling equipment, to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Results for the workflow were available within three hours of sample collection. The RT-LAMP assay is approximately 20 times less analytically sensitive than RT-droplet digital PCR. Nonetheless, during a building-level wastewater surveillance campaign concurrent with independent weekly clinical testing of all students, the method demonstrated a three-day positive predictive value (PPV) of 75% (excluding convalescent cases) and same-day negative predictive value (NPV) of 80% for incident COVID-19 cases. These predictive values are comparable to that reported by wastewater monitoring using RT-qPCR. These observationsmore »
Trends in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Seroprevalence in Massachusetts Estimated from Newborn Screening Specimens
Estimating the cumulative incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is essential for setting public health policies. We leveraged deidentified Massachusetts newborn screening specimens as an accessible, retrospective source of maternal antibodies for estimating statewide seroprevalence in a nontest-seeking population.
We analyzed 72 117 newborn specimens collected from November 2019 through December 2020, representing 337 towns and cities across Massachusetts. Seroprevalence was estimated for the Massachusetts population after correcting for imperfect test specificity and nonrepresentative sampling using Bayesian multilevel regression and poststratification.
Statewide seroprevalence was estimated to be 0.03% (90% credible interval [CI], 0.00–0.11) in November 2019 and rose to 1.47% (90% CI: 1.00–2.13) by May 2020, following sustained SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the spring. Seroprevalence plateaued from May onward, reaching 2.15% (90% CI: 1.56–2.98) in December 2020. Seroprevalence varied substantially by community and was particularly associated with community percent non-Hispanic Black (β = .024; 90% CI: 0.004–0.044); i.e., a 10% increase in community percent non-Hispanic Black was associated with 27% higher odds of seropositivity. Seroprevalence estimates had good concordance with reported case counts and wastewater surveillance for most of 2020, prior to the resurgence of transmission in winter.
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