Development of passive samplers for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage and seawater: Application for the monitoring of sewage

Recent studies have shown that passive sampling is a promising tool for SARS-CoV-2 detection for wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) application. We have previously developed passive sampling of viruses using polymer membranes in seawater. Even though SARS-CoV-2 was not detected yet in seawater, passive sampling could be optimized for future application in coastal areas close to wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The aim of this study was to optimize passive sampling of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage and seawater by selecting a suitable membrane, to determine whether the quantities of virus increase over time, and then to determine if passive sampling and traditional sampling are correlated when conducted in a wastewater treatment plant. Nylon and Zetapor allowed the detection of heat inactivated SARS-CoV-2 and of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), a coronavirus surrogate, in wastewater and seawater spiked with these 2 viruses, showing an increase in detection between 4 h and 24 h of immersion and significantly higher recoveries of both viruses with nylon in seawater (15%) compared to wastewater (4%). On wastewater samples, both membranes detected the virus, the recovery rate was of about 3% for freshly collected samples, and no significant difference was found between SARS-CoV-2 genome concentration on Zetapor and that in water. In sewage spiked seawater, similar concentrations of genome were found on both membranes, with a mean recovery rate of 16% and 11% respectively for nylon and Zetapor. A 3-weeks monitoring with passive sampler allowed the detection of viruses in the influent of a WWTP with a frequency of 100% and 76% for SARS-CoV-2 and norovirus GII respectively. Passive and traditional sampling gave the same evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 concentration over time. All these results confirmed the interest of passive sampling for virus detection and its potential application for monitoring in the wastewater system for targeted public health actions.


Passive samplers, Wastewater-seawater, SARS-CoV-2, Norovirus

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Vincent-Hubert Francoise, Wacrenier Candice, Desdouits Marion, Jousse Sarah, Schaeffer Julien, Le Mehaute Phillipe, Nakache-Danglot Frederique, Le Guyader Soizick, Obepine Consortium (2022). Development of passive samplers for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage and seawater: Application for the monitoring of sewage. Science Of The Total Environment. 833. 155139 (8p.).,

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