Coronavirus in water media: Analysis, fate, disinfection and epidemiological applications

Authors: AntonioBuonerbaabMary Vermi AizzaCorpuzcFlorencioBallesteroscKwang-HoChoodShadi W.HasaneGregory V.KorshinfVincenzoBelgiornoaDamiàBarcelógVincenzoNaddeo

Abstract: Considerable attention has been recently given to possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via water media. This review addresses this issue and examines the fate of coronaviruses (CoVs) in water systems, with particular attention to the recently available information on the novel SARS-CoV-2. The methods for the determination of viable virus particles and quantification of CoVs and, in particular, of SARS-CoV-2 in water and wastewater are discussed with particular regard to the methods of concentration and to the emerging methods of detection. The analysis of the environmental stability of CoVs, with particular regard of SARS-CoV-2, and the efficacy of the disinfection methods are extensively reviewed as well. This information provides a broad view of the state-of-the-art for researchers involved in the investigation of CoVs in aquatic systems, and poses the basis for further analyses and discussions on the risk associated to the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in water media. The examined data indicates that detection of the virus in wastewater and natural water bodies provides a potentially powerful tool for quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA) and for wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) for the evaluation of the level of circulation of the virus in a population. Assays of the viable virions in water media provide information on the integrity, capability of replication (in suitable host species) and on the potential infectivity. Challenges and critical issues relevant to the detection of coronaviruses in different water matrixes with both direct and surrogate methods as well as in the implementation of epidemiological tools are presented and critically discussed.

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