DOI: 10.3390/v15081777 ISSN:

SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Wastewater and Bivalve Mollusk Samples of Campania, Southern Italy

Annalisa Lombardi, Antonia Voli, Andrea Mancusi, Santa Girardi, Yolande Thérèse Rose Proroga, Biancamaria Pierri, Renato Olivares, Luigi Cossentino, Elisabetta Suffredini, Giuseppina La Rosa, Giovanna Fusco, Antonio Pizzolante, Amalia Porta, Pietro Campiglia, Ida Torre, Francesca Pennino, Alessandra Tosco
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in the feces of infected people, consequently in wastewater, and in bivalve mollusks, that are able to accumulate viruses due to their ability to filter large amounts of water. This study aimed to monitor SARS-CoV-2 RNA presence in 168 raw wastewater samples collected from six wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and 57 mollusk samples obtained from eight harvesting sites in Campania, Italy. The monitoring period spanned from October 2021 to April 2022, and the results were compared and correlated with the epidemiological situation. In sewage, the ORF1b region of SARS-CoV-2 was detected using RT-qPCR, while in mollusks, three targets—RdRp, ORF1b, and E—were identified via RT-dPCR. Results showed a 92.3% rate of positive wastewater samples with increased genomic copies (g.c.)/(day*inhabitant) in December–January and March–April 2022. In the entire observation period, 54.4% of mollusks tested positive for at least one SARS-CoV-2 target, and the rate of positive samples showed a trend similar to that of the wastewater samples. The lower SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate in bivalve mollusks compared to sewages is a direct consequence of the seawater dilution effect. Our data confirm that both sample types can be used as sentinels to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the environment and suggest their potential use in obtaining complementary information on SARS-CoV-2.

More from our Archive