Publication date: Dec 04, 2023
Innovative methods for evaluating virus risk and spread, independent of test-seeking behavior, are needed to improve routine public health surveillance, outbreak response, and pandemic preparedness. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental surveillance strategies, including wastewater andair sampling, have been used alongside widespread individual-based SARS-CoV-2 testing programs to provide population-level data. These environmental surveillance strategies have predominantly relied on pathogen-specific detection methods to monitor viruses through space and time. However, this provides a limited picture of the virome present in an environmental sample, leaving us blind to most circulating viruses. In this study, we explore whether pathogen-agnostic deep sequencing can expand the utility of air sampling to detect many human viruses. We show that sequence-independent single-primer amplification sequencing of nucleic acids from air samples can detect common and unexpected human respiratory and enteric viruses, including influenza virus type A and C, respiratory syncytial virus, human coronaviruses, rhinovirus, SARS-CoV-2, rotavirus, mamastrovirus, and astrovirus.
Open Access PDF