Coronavirus in water environments: Occurrence, persistence and concentration methods – A scoping review

This paper is a literature review of existing knowledge regarding coronaviruses in water environments such as wastewater and drinking water. As such, it confirms much of what, by now, is fairly well known (and most of the key reviewed papers have also been described on this blog).

But systematic reviews are valuable for the confidence that they provide for the balance of published evidence being evenly represented.

The key points, as summarised in the papers’ abstract, are as follows:

  • Coronaviruses seem to have a low stability in the environment and are very sensitive to oxidants, like chlorine;
  • Coronaviruses appear to be inactivated significantly faster in water than non-enveloped human enteric viruses with known waterborne transmission;
  • Temperature is an important factor influencing viral survival (the titer of infectious virus declines more rapidly at 23°C–25 °C than at 4 °C);
  • There is no current evidence that [viable/infectious] human coronaviruses are present in surface or ground waters or are transmitted through contaminated drinking-water;
  • Further research is needed to adapt to enveloped viruses the methods commonly used for sampling and concentration of enteric, non-enveloped viruses from water environments.

Like many papers relating to the COVID-19 crisis, this paper is free to download as ‘open access’. And its good to have something that’s been through the peer-review process of a reputable journal (Water Research), rather than another pre-print of questionable quality :-).

REFERENCE:

La Rosa G, Bonadonna L, Lucentini L, Kenmoe S and Suffredini E (2020) Coronavirus in water environments: Occurrence, persistence and concentration methods – A scoping review. Water Research, 179, 115899.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2020.115899

Published by Stuart Khan

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

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