This is a bit more up our alley! “The wastewater microbiome: A novel insight for COVID-19 surveillance” doesn’t look directly at the virus but at the changes in the wastewater microbiome that might proceed detection of SARS-CoV-2. The authors claim to observe such changes which could potentially be really useful. We already know that wastewater surveillance is super important for monitoring and controlling this pandemic. Increasing the “sensitivity” of the overall process would certainly help. Curious how much the observed changes in this study would apply to other geographic locations and other populations of people. Abstract below:
Wastewater-Based Epidemiology is a tool to face and mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks by evaluating conditions in a specific community. This study aimed to analyze the microbiome profiles using nanopore technology for full-length 16S rRNA sequencing in wastewater samples collected from a penitentiary (P), a residential care home (RCH), and a quarantine or health care facilities (HCF). During the study, the wastewater samples from the RCH and the P were negative for SARS-CoV-2 based on qPCRs, except during the fourth week when was detected. Unexpectedly, the wastewater microbiome from RCH and P prior to week four was correlated with the samples collected from the HCF, suggesting a core bacterial community is expelled from the digest tract of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. The microbiota of wastewater sample positives for SARS-CoV-2 was strongly associated with enteric bacteria previously reported in patients with risk factors for COVID-19. We provide novel evidence that the wastewater microbiome associated with gastrointestinal manifestations appears to precede the SARS-CoV-2 detection in sewage. This finding suggests that the wastewaters microbiome can be applied as an indicator of community-wide SARS-CoV-2 surveillance.