Quantification of multiple respiratory viruses in wastewater in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Potential implications of wastewater-based epidemiology for community disease surveillance in developing countries.

Publication date: Apr 10, 2024

Despite being the major cause of death, clinical surveillance of respiratory viruses at the community level is very passive, especially in developing countries. This study focused on the surveillance of three respiratory viruses [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), influenza A virus (IFV-A), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)] in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, by implication of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Fifty-one untreated wastewater samples were from two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) between April and October 2022. Among eight combinations of the pre-evaluated methods, the combination of concentration by simple centrifugation, pretreatment by DNA/RNA Shield (Zymo Research), and extraction by the QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit (QIAGEN) showed the best performance for detecting respiratory viruses. Using this method with a one-step reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), SARS-CoV-2 RNA was successfully detected from both WWTPs (positive ratio, 100 % and 81 %) at concentrations of 5. 6 +/- 0. 6 log copies/L from each WWTP. Forty-six SARS-CoV-2 RNA-positive samples were further tested for three mutation site-specific one-step RT-qPCR (L452R, T478K, and E484A/G339D), where G339D/E484A mutations were frequently detected in both WWTPs (96 %). IFV-A RNA was more frequently detected in WWTP A (84 %) compared to WWTP B (38 %). RSV RNA was also detected in both WWTPs (28 % and 8 %, respectively). This is the first study on detecting IFV-A and RSV in wastewater in Nepal, showing the applicability and importance of WBE for respiratory viruses in developing countries where clinical data are lacking.

Concepts Keywords
Coronavirus Influenza A virus
E484a Nepal
Epidemiology Respiratory syncytial virus
Nepal RT-qPCR
Simple SARS-CoV-2
Wastewater-based epidemiology


Type Source Name
disease VO Viruses
disease MESH cause of death
disease VO Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
drug DRUGBANK Influenza A virus
disease VO Respiratory syncytial virus
disease IDO site

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