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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Bengaluru to get India’s first sewage surveillance platform for Covid-19

Over the past year, scientists have discovered that testing waste water can serve as a cost-effective early warning system, often predicting an increase in Covid-19 infections even before the number of official cases has risen.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: May 28, 2021 7:38:15 am
The 'Precision health platform' in Bengaluru, the first of its kind in Asia, will test sewage from sewer and non-sewer waste water to identify clusters of new infections. (AP Photo/Representational)

The Karnataka government is introducing a city sewage surveillance system in Bengaluru that will help officials track the novel coronavirus at an early stage, even among asymptomatic persons.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and COVIDactionCollab (CAC), a countrywide collaborative of over 300 organisations and networks working together to provide Covid-19 relief and recovery services to most vulnerable communities, supported by Skoll Foundation, are assisting in this effort, read an official statement issued on Thursday.

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Over the past year, scientists have discovered that testing waste water can serve as a cost-effective early warning system, often predicting an increase in Covid-19 infections even before the number of official cases has risen. The ‘Precision health platform’ in Bengaluru, the first of its kind in Asia, will test sewage from sewer and non-sewer waste water to identify clusters of new infections.

Early identification of clusters can help guide Covid-19 response and give policymakers information to better allocate limited pandemic resources. The CAC supports the Karnataka government by providing training for sanitation workers and lab technicians on collecting and transporting sewage samples for testing, analysing and safe disposal. The technical expert group will provide inputs and insights to policymakers for targeted prevention, care and management services.

Dr Angela Chaudhuri, health lead of CAC, said, “While there have been many experiments and studies on finding traces of the virus causing Covid-19 in sewage, Bengaluru will be joining Netherlands, Finland and Israel in path-breaking surveillance system with experts from all over the world.”

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