(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater
Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater
Figure 1: Possible strategy to minimize community spreading of COVID-19 through faecal-oral transmission
- Investigation of the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater showed positive results in various studies.
- The presence of SARS-CoV-2 fragments in wastewater is a great matter of concern for India also.
- As only 37.18% of the total wastewater generated gets treated while remaining is released in various surface water bodies.
- Prior research reveals that the human coronavirus can remain infectious for several days in sewage.
- Viral contaminated water is a potential source of aerosolization of the virus and direct human exposure.
Challenges for India:
- Developing countries like India require to adapt environmental surveillance like WasteWater-based Epidemiology tools to tackle such conditions.
- The viral load in wastewater would increase with an increasing number of cases in India.
- India's inability to treat the whole wastewater generated through common wastewater treatment facility centres is a major cause of concern to decide the further extent of the disease.
- Drainage, sewer systems, etc. exposed directly in the immediate atmosphere at various regions increase the chances of the spread of the disease through improper defecation systems.
- All the common Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTP) need regular monitoring; also the current procedure needs to be revisited for complete removal of SARS-CoV-2 fragments.
- To limit the spread of the disease is Environmental Surveillance through Wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE) at the State level.
- It could perform the function of a preliminary indicator to predict the next surge of COVID-19 pandemic.
- Decision-makers and policy framers require to revise policy guidelines to ensure that wastewater is treated as per the demand of the COVID-19 situation.
- Safety measures for the home quarantined, quarantine centre individuals, etc. need to be devised. Sanitation workers and wastewater treatment facility staff should be provided with proper personal protection equipment (PPE).
- Integration of fecal/stool testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA is crucial for informing the precautions necessary to prevent transmission in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Courtesy: Science Reporter