SARS-CoV-2 in Environment Perspective: Occurrence, Persistence, Surveillance, Inactivation and Challenges

S Venkata Mohan, Manupati Hemalatha, Harishankar Kopperi, I Ranjith, A Kiran Kumar
Chemical Engineering Journal 2020 September 4, : 126893
The unprecedented global spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 is depicting the distressing pandemic consequence on human health, the economy as well as ecosystem services. So far novel coronavirus (CoV) outbreaks were associated with SARS-CoV-2 (2019), middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV, 2012), and SARS-CoV-1 (2003) events. CoV relates to the enveloped family of Betacoronavirus (βCoV) with positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA). Knowing well the persistence, transmission, and spread of SARS-CoV-2 through proximity, the fecal-oral route is now emerging as a major environmental concern to community transmission. The replication and persistence of CoV in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and shedding through stools is indicating a potential transmission route to the environment settings. In spite of the evidence, based on fewer reports on SARS-CoV-2 occurrence and persistence in wastewater/sewage/water, the transmission of the infective virus to the community is yet to be established. In this realm, this communication attempted to review the possible influx route of the enteric enveloped viral transmission in the environmental settings with reference to its occurrence, persistence, detection, and inactivation based on the published literature so far. The possibilities of airborne transmission through enteric virus-laden aerosols, environmental factors that may influence the viral transmission, and disinfection methods (convention and emerging) as well as the inactivation mechanism with reference to the enveloped virus were reviewed. The need for wastewater epidemiology studies for surveillance as well as for early warning signal was elaborated. This communication will provide a basis to understand the SARS-CoV-2 as well as other viruses in the context of the environmental engineering perspective to design effective strategies to counter the enteric virus transmission and also serves as a working paper for researchers, policymakers and regulators.

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