The role of wastewater treatment plants as tools for SARS-CoV-2 early detection and removal

Alain Lesimple, Saad Y. Jasim, Daniel J. Johnson, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The world is facing the third coronavirus caused pandemic in less than twenty years. The SARS-CoV-2 virus not only affects the human respiratory system, but also the gastrointestinal tract. The virus has been found in human feces, in sewage and in wastewater treatment plants. It has the potential to become a panzootic disease, as it is now proven that several mammalian species become infected. Since it has been shown that the virus can be detected in sewage even before the onset of symptoms in the local population, Wastewater Based Epidemiology should be developed not only to localize infection clusters of the primary wave but also to detect a potential second, or subsequent, wave. To prevent a panzootic, virus removal techniques from wastewater need to be implemented to prevent the virus dissemination into the environment. In that context, this review presents recent improvements in all the fields of wastewater treatment from treatment ponds to the use of algae or nanomaterials with a particular emphasis on membrane-based techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101544
JournalJournal of Water Process Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Membranes
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus
  • Wastewater
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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