Coronavirus genes in Ahmedabad sewage, IIT study finds


Genes of the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in wastewater in Ahmedabad in the first such surveillance in India.

Researchers from IIT-Gandhinagar, Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre and Gujarat Pollution Control Board sampled water from the Old Pirana Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Ahmedabad on two days, May 8 and May 27 this year.

The plant received 106 million liters per day of effluent from the Civil Hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

Viral RNAs were isolated from sewage samples and test results showed that the samples were positive with aORF1ab, N protein genes and S protein genes, which were examined as SARS-CoV-2 genes.

International studies, including in the US, are increasingly showing that presence of SARS-CoV-2 is in indicator of the pandemic and can even serve as an early warning system.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the detection of SARS-CoV-2 genes in wastewater samples from India. For all the three genes, the abundance in the wastewater influent was higher in the samples of May 27. This result is consistent with the infection numbers in the area. In India, the daily new confirmed cases in the previous 10 days of the survey days were approximately double, 3000 and 6000 in the case of May 8 and May 27, respectively,” said the paper in pre-prints.

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