BMC to begin genome sequencing of sewage water in Mumbai
Amid a poignant rise in new COVID-19 cases and variants of the Omicron strain of coronavirus, the Maharashtra state health department has urged BMC in Mumbai to initiate genome sequencing of sewage water. The process is beneficial in assessing virus strain, identifying its lineages and substrains, for the early detection of infection. Reportedly, the sequencing strategy will be conducted across all 36 districts of Maharashtra, by their respective civic bodies.
The need for genome sequencing
According to the reports of genome sequencing conducted by the BMC between June 1 and 18, around 89% of Mumbai's total new COVID load were cases of BA.2 and BA.2.38 sunvariants of the Omicron strain. The recent study sampled as many as 364 samples at the Kasturba Labortatory, of which 40% were infected with BA.2 and 49% by BA.2.38. A smaller pool of about 5% were cases of BA.5, and the remaining 2% had the BA.4 variant.
To counter this rise, tracing via sewage water has been pegged to be most effective. The sequencing method will check the emergence of new strains, sub strains and alert public health bodies to curb the infection rise and transmission.locally
Sewage water carries human excreta and experts claim that the virus can be detected in the same. Sequencing of sewer lines will widen the scope of genome testing from an individual to a local area, early on.