In early studies, scientists found that SARS-CoV-2 particles often end up in wastewater. They remain stable in water for several weeks. However, scientists doubt that this could cause disease outbreaks in cities or natural ecosystems.
In new work, the authors tested whether mollusks can track these particles in water bodies. It is noted that these living organisms filter water and can be indicators of water pollution and changes in it.
During the work, scientists grew a colony of these mollusks in their laboratory and tracked whether traces of the virus would appear in their bodies if they were immersed in sewage from treatment plants in Paris and Reims.
As a result, the body of the molluscs accumulated RNA of the coronavirus. Even more interesting, the shellfish helped detect small but significant traces of the coronavirus in treated wastewater and in samples of river water from the Seine collected during the spring and autumn peak of the epidemic.
Thus, Protostomes can be used as a kind of “indicators” of the level of the causative agent of COVID-19 in water bodies.