Survival of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater

Samendra Sherchan, Ocean Thakali, Luisa A. Ikner, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected >600 million people with >6 million deaths. Although Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of COVID-19, is transmitted via respiratory droplets or direct contact, isolation of viable SARS-CoV-2 in feces has been reported. Therefore, there is a need for understanding the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants in wastewater. In this study, the survival of SARS-CoV-2 isolate hCoV-19/USA-WA1/2020 was observed in three wastewater matrices - filtered and unfiltered raw wastewater, and secondary effluent. All experiments were conducted within a BSL-3 laboratory at room temperature. The time required for inactivation of 90 % (T90) of SARS-CoV-2 was 10.4, 10.8, and 18.3 h for unfiltered raw, filtered raw, and secondary effluent, respectively. Progressive decline in infectivity of the virus following first order kinetics was noted in these wastewater matrices. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to describe the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in secondary effluent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number163049
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jul 15 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Persistence
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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