While everyone by now is aware that the deadly corona viral infection spreads through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with infected people via mouth and nasal discharges. In a groundbreaking revelation made after the French government detected traces of the virus in sewage, scientists confirmed that there is a high possibility of transmission through the faeces as well.
This pushed the scientists across the world to harvest the samples from sewages while the infected have the tendency to spread the infection through faeces up to 35 days. In the line of which, the Hyderabad-based Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) conducted COVID-19 surveillance in Hyderabad by testing sewage samples collected from various Sewage Treatment Plants.
While the sewage samples from 80 per cent of the STPs in Hyderabad were processed to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the results have not only shocked the CCMB and IICT professional but startled the state health authorities. The study has revealed that the overall number of potential Covid-19 infected people in the capital could be close to 6.6 lakh.
“A conservative estimate of the number of active cases who are shedding the virus maybe around 2.6 lakh. The findings are posted on the preprint server, MedRxiv, which is yet to be peer reviewed,” read the findings realised to the media on Wednesday. These findings came in support of the allegations made by many health experts who raised concerns over the state government hiding the actual number of cases.
The study as well stated that the actual number of people infected by COVID-19 is many times higher than the number of cases being reported. “Our finding clearly indicates that a large proportion of the affected individuals are asymptomatic and did not need hospitalization,” stated CCMB Director, Dr Rakesh Mishra emphasising the need to conduct many such studies.
However, the studies also found that while the viral RNA was detectable in the inlet samples of the STPs, the outlet (after treatment) samples were largely clean (free from viral RNA), indicating efficient treatment practices at STP.