Hyderabad: Scientists to identify new Covid variants in city sewage
A joint study will be conducted by using sewage samples on weekly basis to identify Delta, Omicron
Hyderabad: To identify new variants of the novel Coronavirus in the city, in a move intensify the surveillance for the SARS-CoV-2, a joint study by Hyderabad-based CCMB (Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology), IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology), and NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) is to be conducted by collecting sewage samples on a weekly basis from sewage treatment plants here.The scientists and re searchers will conduct an epidemiological study based on sewage samples being collected from more than 20 STPs and major nalas. As STPs receive about 40 per cent of households, the study gives a clear picture to find the hidden new Covid variants Delta and Omicron.
According to a high official source at CCMB, such studies if carried out along with civic bodies will identify the virus in the city and alert the system by assisting in taking necessary measures.
The source stated that the process of collecting sewage samples has already been started and within a month, for surveillance purposes, the date will be shared on a weekly basis with the concerned authorities of the State and Health department. Aim of the study in feces is to deterime asymptomatic indivduals. Plus, it will also give time for the health authorities to put in measures and plan things ahead.
Researchers are confident that they will be able to trace the new variants if present in the city. The study will be conducted by sequencing the samples using some degenerated RNA as well as RNA signature. The source said that the study will find new variants if present in the city and can also estimate the individuals infected.
In the previous year similar studies were carried out during the first and second waves of Covid. In August 2020 the CCMB and IICT study was carried out by testing 10 STPs which found that around 6.6 lakh people in Hyderabad (around 6.6 per cent of the population) may have been infected in just the last 35 days.