Detecting SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Wastewater and their Correlation with Circulating Variants in the Communities

Lin Li et al. September 27, 2022

Scientific Reports

Li L., Uppal T., Hartley P.D., Gorzalski A.J., Pandori M.W., Picker M.A., Verma S.C. & Pagilla K.


Detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in wastewater has been highly informative in estimating the approximate number of infected individuals in the surrounding communities. Recent developments in wastewater monitoring to determine community prevalence of COVID-19 further extends into identifying SARS-CoV-2 variants, including those being monitored for having enhanced transmissibility. We sequenced genomic RNA derived from wastewater to determine the variants of coronaviruses circulating in the communities. Wastewater samples were collected from Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) from November 2020 to June 2021. SARS-CoV-2 variants resulting from wastewater were compared with the variants detected in infected individuals’ clinical specimens (nasal/nasopharyngeal swabs) during the same period and found conclusively in agreement. Therefore, wastewater monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 variants in the community is a feasible strategy as a complementary tool to clinical specimen testing in the latter’s absence.

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