Increase in SARS-CoV-2 infected biomedical waste among low middle-income countries: environmental sustainability and impact with health implications.J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 22 [Online ahead of print]JB
Studies have shown that severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly infectious disease, with global deaths rising to about 360,438 as of 28 May 2020. Different countries have used various approaches such as lockdown, social distancing, maintenance of personal hygiene, and increased establishment of testing and isolation centers to manage the pandemic. Poor biomedical waste (BMW) management, treatment, and disposal techniques, especially SARS-CoV-2 infected BMW, may threaten the environmental and public health in most developing countries and, by extension, impact the economic status of individuals and the nation at large. This may increase the potential for the transmission of air/blood body fluid-borne pathogens, increase the growth of microorganisms, risk of mutagenesis, and upsurge of more virulent strain. In contrast, uncontrolled substandard burning could increase the potential spread of nosocomial infection and environmental exposure to toxic organic compounds, heavy metals, radioactive, and genotoxic bio-aerosols which might be present in the gaseous, liquid, and solid by-products. The paucity of understanding of pathophysiology and management of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has also necessitated the need to put in place appropriate disposal techniques to cater for the sudden increase in the global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and pharmaceutical drugs to manage the pandemic and to reduce the risk of preventable infection by the waste. Therefore, there is a need for adequate sensitization, awareness, and environmental monitoring of the impacts of improper handling of SARS-CoV-2 infected BMWs. Hence, this review aimed to address the issues relating to the improper management of increased SARS-CoV-2 infected BMW in low middle-income countries (LMICs).