COVID-19 Drugs Persist in Wastewater


Remdesivir, dexamethasone, and antibiotics, the common drugs used to treat COVID-19 survive through wastewater treatment and may appear in waterways at levels high enough to negatively affect aquatic organisms.


According to Heather Preisendanz, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, Penn State, over-the counter and prescription-strength pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics and pain relievers, are excreted by humans, and many are known to persist through wastewater treatment plants and into nearby waterways, where they can negatively affect aquatic organisms.

Persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater

“This knowledge spurred concerns that increased use of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic could also lead to increased concentrations of these drugs in wastewater treatment plant effluent and potentially harm aquatic life,” said Preisendanz.

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