Published on: May 24, 2021
What is the news : Karnataka government launched a sewage surveillance project in Bengaluru to track the emergence and resolution of COVID-19 clusters
- The first such pan-city project in Asia, it will be be spearheaded by COVIDactionCollab (CAC), a nationwide network of over 300 organisations working on COVID-19 relief and recovery, and supported by Skoll Foundation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
- While there have been many experiments and studies on finding traces of the COVID-19 virus in sewage, Bengaluru will be joining the Netherlands, Finland, and Israel in a path-breaking surveillance system with experts from all over the world supporting the initiative.
- Over the last year, scientists around the world have discovered that waste-water testing can serve as a cost-effective early warning system, often predicting an increase in COVID-19 infections before the number of cases has risen. As part of the initiative, a ‘Precision Health Platform’ will test sewage from both sewered and non-sewered waste-water in Bengaluru to identify clusters of new infections. The platform will aid early detection of clusters, even before tests start showing cases, helping policy-makers to make early interventions
- “The system will cover over 75% of Bengaluru’s nine million population by generating over 90 data points per week, signalling the emerging COVID-19 clusters or signalling a COVID-19 cluster’s exit from an area. We are happy to be the first in India to launch this platform,”
- CAC will provide training to sanitation workers and lab technicians on collecting and transporting sewage samples to labs for testing, analysing and safe disposal.