Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan hospital and the 309th Hospital of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (2005)

A global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred in 2002/03. This outbreak was caused by the virus which became known as “SARS-CoV”. This is not the same virus as “SARS-CoV-2”, responsible for COVID-19, but it is a very close relative. As such, many of the studies undertaken to understand the fate of SARS-CoV in water are now considered to be a good model and of high relevance for predicting the fate of SARS-CoV-2 in water. It is intended that the basis for that assumption will be discussed in more detail on this blog and a link will be provided from this post when it is available.

Following the 2002/03 SARS outbreak, the primary means of transmission of SARS-CoV was understood to be primarily related to close contact with infected persons. However, some attention was also focused on possible transmission by the sewage system because laboratory studies showed that patients excreted coronavirus RNA in their stools.

To explore whether the stool of SARS patients or the sewage containing the stool of patients would transmit SARS-CoV or not, these researchers used a style of electropositive filter media particle to concentrate the SARS-CoV from the sewage of two hospitals receiving SARS patients in Beijing, as well as cell culture, semi-nested RT–PCR and sequencing of genes to detect and identify the viruses from sewage.

They found that there was no live SARS-CoV detected in the sewage by these assays. The nucleic acid of SARS-CoV was found in the sewage before disinfection from both hospitals by PCR. After disinfection, SARS-CoV RNA could be detected from some samples from one hospital, but not from a second hospital after disinfection.

The researchers reported that the virus can survive for 14 days in sewage at 4°C, 2 days at 20°C, and its RNA can be detected for 8 days though the virus had been inactivated.

This study demonstrated that the RNA of SARS-CoV could be detected from the concentrates of sewage of both hospitals receiving SARS patients before disinfection and occasionally after disinfection though there was no live SARS-CoV. In conclusion, they recommended that attention should be paid to the treatment of stools of patients and the sewage of hospitals receiving SARS patients.

REFERENCES:

Wang XW, Li J, Guo T, Zhen B, Kong Q, Yi B, Li Z, Song N, Jin M, Xiao W, zhu X, Gu C, Yin J, Wei W, Yao W, Liu C, Li J, Ou G, Wang M, Fang T, Wang G, Qiu Y, Wu H, Chao F and Li J (2005) Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan hospital and the 309th Hospital of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Water Science and Technology, 52(8), 213-221.

https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2005.0266

The results from this study were also published in a later paper:

Wang X-W, Li J-S, Guo T-K, Zhen B, Kong Q-X, Yi B, Li Z, Song N, Jin M, Xiao W-J, Zhu X-M, Gu C-Q, Yin J, Wei W, Yao W, Liu C, Li J-F, Ou G-R, Wang M-N, Fang T-Y, Wang G-J, Qiu Y-H, Wu H-H, Chao F-H and Li J-W (2005) Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan Hospital and the 309th Hospital. Journal of Virological Methods, 128(1), 156-161. DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2005.03.022

Published by Stuart Khan

Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of New South Wales

One thought on “Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan hospital and the 309th Hospital of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (2005)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: