Investigation of Antibiotic Resistome in Hospital Wastewater during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Is the Initial Phase of the Pandemic Contributing to Antimicrobial Resistance?

Changzhi Wang, David Mantilla-Calderon, Yanghui Xiong, Mohsen Alkahtani, Yasir M. Bashawri, Hamed Al Qarni, Pei Ying Hong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there has been much speculation about how COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance may be interconnected. In this study, untreated wastewater was sampled from Hospital A designated to treat COVID-19 patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside Hospital B that did not receive any COVID-19 patients. Metagenomics was used to determine the relative abundance and mobile potential of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs), prior to determining the correlation of ARGs with time/incidence of COVID-19. Our findings showed that ARGs resistant to macrolides, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines were positively correlated with time in Hospital A but not in Hospital B. Likewise, minor extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases of classes B and D were positively correlated with time, suggesting the selection of rare and/or carbapenem-resistant genes in Hospital A. Non-carbapenemase blaVEB also positively correlated with both time and intI1 and was copresent with other ARGs including carbapenem-resistant genes in 6 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). This study highlighted concerns related to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during the COVID-19 pandemic that may arise from antibiotic use and untreated hospital wastewater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15007-15018
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume56
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Keywords

  • Antibiotic
  • antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • metagenomics
  • One-Health
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry

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