Initiative: Sewage Testing
As community transmission of the Sars-nCov-2 virus appears in India, new means of detecting its presence in the population and evidence-based local response are required. International and national efforts have indicated that testing sewage can be an effective tool for monitoring the spread of the Sars-nCoV-2 virus. However, an ‘Indian’ protocol is needed that takes into the poor quality of sewage systems, challenges in transportation and testing of samples, and supports city and state governments to effectively test and communicate with the public.
Recognizing this, the COVID Action Collaborative (CAC) developed a protocol to detect COVID-19 from sewage water in India with the help of partners in health (Swasti, CMS), testing (Molecular Solutions and Neshaju Envirotech), research (St John’s Research Institute and Indian Institute of Science) and water and sanitation engineering (STUP Consultants and CDD Society). SARS-CoV-2 sewage surveillance data can serve as an Early Warning System, and inform resource deployment and mitigation measures, thereby helping state and local health departments detect, understand, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is being piloted in 10 wards and is looking for scaling and endorsement partners.