Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Wastewater-based SARS-CoV-2 Environmental Monitoring for Piedmont, Italy

Version 1 : Received: 22 May 2021 / Approved: 24 May 2021 / Online: 24 May 2021 (10:35:04 CEST)

How to cite: Robotto, A.; Lembo, D.; Quaglino, P.; Brizio, E.; Polato, D.; Civra, A.; Cusato, J.; Di Perri, G. Wastewater-based SARS-CoV-2 Environmental Monitoring for Piedmont, Italy. Preprints 2021, 2021050557 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0557.v1). Robotto, A.; Lembo, D.; Quaglino, P.; Brizio, E.; Polato, D.; Civra, A.; Cusato, J.; Di Perri, G. Wastewater-based SARS-CoV-2 Environmental Monitoring for Piedmont, Italy. Preprints 2021, 2021050557 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0557.v1).

Abstract

The experience gained over the last hundred years clearly indicates that two groups of viruses represent the main risk for the development of highly transmissible epidemics and pandemics in the human species: influenza viruses and coronaviruses (CoV). Although the search for viruses with pandemic potential in the environment may have an important predictive and monitoring role, it is still based on empirical methodologies, mostly translated from the clinic and not fully validated for environmental matrices.As far as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, currently underway, is concerned, environmental monitoring activities aiming at checking the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater can be extremely useful to predict and control the diffusion of the disease. For this reason, the present study aims to evaluate the SARS-CoV-2 diffusion by means of a wastewater-based environmental monitoring developed in Piedmont, N-W Italy, during the pandemic second and third waves. Sampling strategies, sampling points, sample pre-treatments and analytical methods have been developed and validated to give representative and reliable results. The outcomes highlighted by the present paper demonstrate a strong correlation between SARS-CoV-2 concentration in untreated wastewater and epidemic evolution in the considered areas as well as a predictive potential that could provide decision-makers with indications for establishing effective policies to mitigate the effects of the ongoing pandemic and to prepare response plans for future pandemics that could certainly arise in the decades to come.Moreover, the study highlights the potential of wastewater treatment plants to degrade the genetic material referable to SARS-CoV-2 as well.In conclusion, the preliminary data reported in the present paper, although they need to be complemented by further studies considering other geographical regions as well, are very promising.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV-2; Wastewater; treatment; plant; Environmental Virology Monitoring and Surveillance; E gene

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