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BMC asks National Institute of Virology for more Covid positive samples

However, the scientific probe has hit a roadblock as just 9 per cent of the 600 sewage water samples, collected so far, have shown the presence of Covid-19 strain

Swapnil Mishra | Updated on: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:48 AM IST

A BMC health worker collects swab sample of an outstation passenger for COVID-19 test at Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminus in Mumbai | PTI
A BMC health worker collects swab sample of an outstation passenger for COVID-19 test at Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminus in Mumbai | PTI
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Mumbai: For a better understanding of the Covid-19 spread and the measures needed to tackle the pandemic, the BMC has been testing water samples from pumping stations, dumping grounds and manholes for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

However, the scientific probe has hit a roadblock as just 9 per cent of the 600 sewage water samples, collected so far, have shown the presence of Covid-19 strain.

Dismayed by the results, the BMC has asked the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to provide them with positive samples so that they can run them for genome sequence for which at least 375 positive samples are needed, stated BMC additional commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Explaining about the process, he further said, “We have been deliberately collecting water samples but very few are coming out positive. The water samples are being collected from 19 places in Mumbai such as pumping stations, dumping grounds, and manholes, however, we have also asked to collect samples from hospital areas.”

Since the setting up of a genome sequencing machine at the BMC's Kasturba Hospital, the Corporation has carried out 7 out of the 11 surveys for genome sequencing.

According to experts, RNA [ribonucleic acid] of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses can be detected in human faeces unlike the other respiratory viruses.

“The machine can run 375 samples at once for genome sequencing, but the viral load of the samples should be high,” said Kakani.

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Published on: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:48 AM IST