In a significant finding that can predict the spread of newer variants of Coronavirus, a team of scientists in Pune has traced several mutations of Coronavirus in the sample waste water collected from the city drains. The study conducted in the period between December 2020 and March 2021 found several newer variants of Coronavirus that are yet to be ascertained through the clinical data. The research, the scientists have claimed, has the potential to predict the resurgence of a Covid-19 mutation well in advance before it actually spreads among the larger population, the Indian Express reported.
The study, which is being conducted by a team of scientists at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, is expected to continue for another year as per the decision taken by the Pune Municipal Corporation in view of the possibility of successive waves of Coronavirus.
Among one of the most vital findings that aligns with the actual Covid-19 spread among the population, the sequencing of waste water during the month of March Covid-19 mutations L452R and E484Q which are associated with the B.1.617 lineage that has been understood to be behind rapid rise in Coronavirus cases. Importantly, the same mutations were not traced in the waste-water sequencing starting from December 2020 and February this year. Proving the rapid mutation among the virus, the study found four unique mutations of Covid-19 namely- N801:C480R, NSP14:C279F and NSP3:L550del- which have not been reported from any part of the world.
Mahesh Dharne who is the project coordinator of the pilot study told the Indian Express that the study found the presence of Coronavirus in almost all water samples collected between December 2020 and March 2021 which aligns with the consistent rise in Covid-19 cases in the city during the period. Dhrane continued and said that regular analysis of waste-water was essential to observe the change in virus mutations and their consequent spread. More importantly, Dharne said that the study yielded a large number of significant findings from a small sample of waste-water in comparison to what was traced from a large number of individuals in other studies.