Coronavirus News: Israeli Researchers Warns That Wastewater Containing Coronavirus Is A Growing Threat
: According to a new, global study led by researchers from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)-Israel, wastewater containing coronaviruses is more serious threat than ever imagined.
The research involves an international collaboration of 35 scientific researchers and evaluates recent studies on coronaviruses in wastewater and previous airborne infectious diseases, including SARS and MERS.
The research findings were published in the journal: Nature Sustainability https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00605-2
The goal of the study was to evaluate potential threats, avenues of research and possible solutions, as well as garner beneficial perspectives for the future.
Dr Edo Bar-Zeev, lead researcher at BGU Zuckerberg Institute told Thailand Medical News, “There is ample reason to be concerned about how long coronaviruses survive in wastewater and how it impacts natural water sources. Can wastewater contain enough coronaviruses to infect people? The simple truth is that we do not know enough and that needs to be rectified as soon as possible."
Dr Bar-Zeev, and his postdoc student, Dr Anne Bogler, together with other renowned researchers, indicate that sewage leaking into natural watercourses might lead to infection via airborne spray.
They also warned that similarly treated wastewater used to fill recreational water facilities, like lakes and rivers, could also become sources of contagion.
Furthermore, fruits and vegetables irrigated with wastewater that were not properly disinfected could also be an indirect infection route.
Recent studies have already shown that a variety of animal could be susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-news-genomic-study-led-by-university-of-california-indicates-that-many-animal-species-vulnerable-to-sars-cov-2-coronavirus
Contaminated wastewater laden with the novel coronavirus could lead to many of these animals getting infected and in return them becoming vectors to spread the virus back to the human population.
The study team recommends immediate, new research to determine the level of potential infection, if any, and how long coronaviruses last in various bodies of water and spray.
There was already a study that said the novel coronavirus could be waterborne and could survive in water for as long as 25 days. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-news-covid-19-research-shows-that-sars-cov-2-coronavirus-can-survive-in-water-for-up-to-25-days-and-could-also-be-water-borne
But more detailed research is required in this area.
Dr Bar-Zeev and his colleague
s commented, "Wastewater treatment plants need to upgrade their treatment protocols and in the near future also advance toward tertiary treatment through micro- and ultra-filtration membranes, which successfully remove viruses."
Also at the same time, wastewater can serve as a canary in a coal mine because it can be monitored to track COVID-19 outbreaks. Coronaviruses start showing up in feces before other symptoms like fevers and coughs show up in otherwise asymptomatic people.
Constant regular monitoring, therefore, can give authorities advance warning of hot spots. BGU researchers recently completed a pilot study in Ashkelon, Israel using new methodology to detect and trace the presence of the virus and calculate its concentration to pinpoint emerging COVID-19 hotspots. Other BGU researchers are working on developing water nanofiltration technologies.
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