Published on June 28, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Right from general citizens to decision makers at the top, everyone is curious to know when the cases of Covid-19 would spike again. Fresh from the worst period of the ongoing Covid pandemic, Amdavadis are cautious about the predicted third wave and the new Delta Plus variant. In such a scenario, a group of researchers have pointed at wastewater for the fairly accurate estimate of the spike in Covid cases.

The researchers based in Ahmedabad claimed that the wastewater surveillance gave a spike ahead of the post-Diwali surge in 2020 with a window of about two weeks before the on-ground surge was recorded. The researchers also claimed that the proof-of-concept study also demonstrated that such method can work for any populous city like Ahmedabad.

The study ‘Wastewater surveillance-based city zonation for effective COVID-19 pandemic preparedness powered by early warning: A perspectives of temporal variations in SARS-CoV-2-RNA in Ahmedabad, India’ is published in the latest edition of Elsevier journal Science of The Total Environment, and is authored by Prof Manish Kumar from IIT Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn), Madhvi Joshi from Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), along with researchers from GPCB and UNICEF.

‘We detected and quantified variation in SARS-CoV-2 RNA from wastewater samples for three months (September to November) to understand the pandemic situation in Ahmedabad. Among the 116 samples analyzed in the study, 111 (95.7%) were found positive, comprising at least two positive RT-PCR results targeting SARS-CoV-2 ORF1ab, S, and N gene,’ mentioned the findings of the study.

The study showed spike in RNA concentration in Motera, Ranip, Paldi, Odhav and Vinzol in November compared to September and October figures and claimed that the epidemiological data from the sites (based on AMC data) matches with the surge.

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