Wang H, Churqui MP, Tunovic T, Enache L, Johansson A, Kärmander A, Nilsson S, Lagging M, Andersson M, Dotevall L, Brezicka T, Nyström K, Norder H
iScience 25 (9) 105000 [2022-09-16; online 2022-08-24]
Virus surveillance in wastewater can be a useful indicator of the development of the COVID-19 pandemic in communities. However, knowledge about how the amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater relates to different data on the burden on the health system is still limited. Herein, we monitored the amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and the spectrum of virus variants in weekly pooled wastewater samples for two years from mid-February 2020 and compared them with several clinical data. The two-year monitoring showed the weekly changes in the amount of viral RNA in wastewater preceded the hospital care needs for COVID-19 and the number of acute calls on adult acute respiratory distress by 1-2 weeks during the first three waves of COVID-19. Our study demonstrates that virus surveillance in wastewater can predict the development of a pandemic and its burden on the health system, regardless of society's test capacity and possibility of tracking infected cases.