UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Coronaviruses in the Sea Mordecai, Gideon; Hewson, Ian


Interest in coronaviruses because of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has generated concern about their occurrence and persistence in aquatic habitats. Coronaviruses are not quantitatively significant constituents of marine virioplankton. Members of the Nidovirales (to which human coronaviruses belong) infect marine mammals, teleosts and possibly invertebrates, and human coronaviruses may persist in marine plankton receiving wastewater effluent. However, virions likely experience significant particle and infectivity decay rates in surface seawater, similar to other enveloped RNA viruses.

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Attribution 4.0 International