Environ Sci Pollut Res Int

. 2021 Oct 15.
doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-16919-3. Online ahead of print.
Persistence and occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in water and wastewater environments: a review of the current literature

Ananda Tiwari 1 , Nati Phan 2 , Sarmila Tandukar 3 , Razieh Ashoori 4 , Ocean Thakali 5 , Milad Mousazadesh 6 7 , Mohammad Hadi Dehghani 8 9 , Samendra P Sherchan 10



As the world continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging evidence indicates that respiratory transmission may not the only pathway in which the virus can be spread. This review paper aims to summarize current knowledge surrounding possible fecal-oral transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It covers recent evidence of proliferation of SARS-CoV-2 in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as presence and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in water, and suggested future directions. Research indicates that SARS-CoV-2 can actively replicate in the human gastrointestinal system and can subsequently be shed via feces. Several countries have reported SARS-CoV-2 RNA fractions in wastewater systems, and various factors such as temperature and presence of solids have been shown to affect the survival of the virus in water. The detection of RNA does not guarantee infectivity, as current methods such as RT-qPCR are not yet able to distinguish between infectious and non-infectious particles. More research is needed to determine survival time and potential infectivity, as well as to develop more accurate methods for detection and surveillance.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Disinfection; Fecal–oral transmission; Persistence; Wastewater; Waterborne transmission.