Epidemiological surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 by genome quantification in wastewater applied to a city in the northeast of France: comparison of ultrafiltration- and protein precipitation-based methods

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Bertrand IsabelleORCID1, Challant Julie1, Jeulin Hélène1, 2, Hartard Cédric1, 2, Mathieu Laurence1, 3, Lopez Séverine1, Scientific Interest Group Obépine , Schvoerer Evelyne1, 2, Courtois Sophie4, Gantzer Christophe1
Contributor(s) Le Guyader Soizick
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université de Lorraine, CNRS, LCPME, F-54000, Nancy, France
2 : Laboratoire de Virologie, CHRU de Nancy Brabois, F-54500, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France
3 : EPHE, PSL, UMR CNRS 7564, LCPME, F-54000, Nancy, France
4 : SUEZ, CIRSEE, 38 rue du Président Wilson, F-78230 Le Pecq, France
Source International Journal Of Hygiene And Environmental Health (1438-4639) (Elsevier BV), 2021-04 , Vol. 233 , P. 113692 (7p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113692
WOS© Times Cited 24
Keyword(s) SARS-CoV-2, Wastewater, Concentration methods, Prevalence
Abstract

The aim of the present study was to develop a simple, sensitive, and specific approach to quantifying the SARS-CoV-2 genome in wastewater and to evaluate this approach as a means of epidemiological surveillance. Twelve wastewater samples were collected from a metropolitan area in north-eastern France during April and May 2020. In addition to the quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, F-specific RNA phages of genogroup II (FRNAPH GGII), naturally present in wastewater, were used as an internal process control for the viral concentration and processing of RT-PCR inhibitors. A concentration method was required to allow the quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 genome over the longest possible period. A procedure combining ultrafiltration, phenol-chloroform-isoamyl alcohol purification, and the additional purification of the RNA extracts was chosen for the quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in 100-mL wastewater samples. At the same time, the COVID-19 outbreak was evaluated through patients from the neighbouring University Hospital of Nancy, France. A regular decrease in the concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 genome from ∼104 gc/L to ∼102 gc/L of wastewater was observed over the eight weeks of the study, during which the population was placed under lockdown. The SARS-CoV-2 genome was even undetectable during one week in the second half of May and present but non-quantifiable in the last sample (28 May). A concordant circulation in the human community was highlighted by virological diagnosis using respiratory samples, which showed a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases from 677 to 52 per week over the same period. The environmental surveillance of COVID-19 using a reliable viral quantification procedure to test wastewater is a key approach. The real-time detection of viral genomes can allow us to predict and monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical settings and survey the entire urban human population.

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Bertrand Isabelle, Challant Julie, Jeulin Hélène, Hartard Cédric, Mathieu Laurence, Lopez Séverine, Scientific Interest Group Obépine, Schvoerer Evelyne, Courtois Sophie, Gantzer Christophe (2021). Epidemiological surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 by genome quantification in wastewater applied to a city in the northeast of France: comparison of ultrafiltration- and protein precipitation-based methods. International Journal Of Hygiene And Environmental Health, 233, 113692 (7p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2021.113692 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00678/78988/