The recent COVID-19 pandemic has sensitized the public, government, and scientific community to the threat of pathogens that may spread by air and water. However, the presence, detection, and elimination of pathogens in water and wastewater has been a long-time environmental issue that persists today, encompassing many bacteria and viruses beyond SARS-CoV-2. Wastewater surveillance for community level epidemiology is well established, and its recent application has led to greater awareness of this approach. The potential for exposure to pathogens via drinking water or inhalation of water mists/vapor also persists and warrants additional attention with regard to environmental surveillance.
Multiple existing approaches and activities are available to proactively monitor water supplies while conducting epidemiology on water and wastewater streams. These include water sampling for laboratory analysis by reverse transcription and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR/qPCR) methods. The value of these data can be enhanced with statistical analysis, data analytics, and predictive capabilities such as artificial intelligence. More advanced biosensing technologies have been in development during the past decade, including electrochemical biosensors capable of detecting viruses through electrical impedance spectroscopy.
This presentation will demonstrate the following: