Editorial: SARS-CoV-2 in water
“We are delighted to share with you our special issue on SARS-CoV-2 in water, specifically targeted towards our Journal readership. Cutting-edge studies and reviews on the water-related health aspects of SARS-CoV-2 have been contributed by our research community related to the potential risk of waterborne COVID-19 transmission, household water uses, and hygiene during the pandemic, and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater.
In the early days of the pandemic, when shedding of virus with faeces was identified, the most critical question that needed to be addressed was: Does SARS-CoV-2 in water and wastewater present a risk to human health? Could water-based exposures, for example to plumbing workers and wastewater treatment plant operators, present a transmission pathway that needs to be managed? While several lines of evidence emerged, indicating that there is likely minimal risk via waterborne exposure (including the lack of epidemiological signal of cases amongst wastewater workers, the lack of evidence of infectious virus in wastewater, and the lack of evidence of SARS-CoV-2 persistence in water or wastewater), this topic is still frequently raised for discussion from various sectors of the community. Included in this special issue is an invited review by Professor Mark Sobsey on the risk of COVID19 via faecal waste, wastewater, and water exposures (Sobsey 2022). We would like to express our gratitude to Mark for taking the time to undertake this important review and document his perspective on the available evidence for the benefit of our readership.
Of course, scientific evidence grows rapidly with ongoing research efforts and there is a need to stay alert and open-minded should there be a need to revisit. With that in mind, we commend to you a study from Dey et al. (2022) investigating the potential role of amoebae in the environmental persistence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Understanding the microbial ecology of water systems and the interaction between different microorganisms is of great value and is important for managing the waterborne risk of several pathogens (from SARS-CoV-2 or other RNA viruses) in the future.”
(Citation: Haramoto, E., Medema, G.J., et.al. – Editorial: SARS-CoV-2 in water – Journal of Water & Health 20(2022)2, Pages III – VI – DOI: 10.2166/WH.2022.001 – (Open Access))
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