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Sci Total Environ . First proof of the capability of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 in India through detection of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2

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  • Sci Total Environ . First proof of the capability of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 in India through detection of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2


    Sci Total Environ


    . 2020 Jul 28;746:141326.
    doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141326. Online ahead of print.
    First proof of the capability of wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 in India through detection of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2


    Manish Kumar 1 , Arbind Kumar Patel 2 , Anil V Shah 3 , Janvi Raval 4 , Neha Rajpara 4 , Madhvi Joshi 4 , Chaitanya G Joshi 4



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    We made the first ever successful effort in India to detect the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 viruses to understand the capability and application of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) surveillance in India. Sampling was carried out on 8 and 27 May 2020 at the Old Pirana Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) at Ahmedabad, Gujarat that receives effluent from Civil Hospital treating COVID-19 patients. All three, i.e. ORF1ab, N and S genes of SARS-CoV-2, were found in the influent with no genes detected in effluent collected on 8 and 27 May 2020. Increase in SARS-CoV-2 genetic loading in the wastewater between 8 and 27 May 2020 samples concurred with corresponding increase in the number of active COVID-19 patients in the city. The number of gene copies was comparable to that reported in untreated wastewaters of Australia, China and Turkey and lower than that of the USA, France and Spain. However, temporal changes in SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations need to be substantiated further from the perspectives of daily and short-term changes of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater through long-term monitoring. The study results SARS-CoV-2 will assist concerned authorities and policymakers to formulate and/or upgrade COVID-19 surveillance to have a more explicit picture of the pandemic curve. While infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 through the excreted viral genetic material in the aquatic environment is still being debated, the presence and detection of genes in wastewater systems makes a strong case for the environmental surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Environmental surveillance; Pandemic monitoring; Wastewater based epidemiology.

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