Wastewater analysis can help predict virus breakout faster

The Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS) in Bengaluru is standardising a set of protocols (guidelines) that can be used by municipalities across India for effectively monitoring pathogens in wastewater. The TIGS’ protocols will allow for the meaningful analysis of sewage and provide insights on various health parameters of a population.

Scientists at TIGS are preparing a robust, plug-in module that can be offered by a service provider to civic administrations. Speaking to Frontline, Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, TIGS, explained that wastewater analysis “has complemented routine diagnostic surveillance by capturing near real-time virus circulation at a population level in very reliable and unbiased manner”.

Wastewater surveillance allows scientists to test an entire city “without even one clinical sample needing to be collected”. Said Mishra: “Wastewater analysis gives granular data, as wards/localities contributing to each wastewater source can be mapped and provides scientists an inkling of the extent of any pathogens or infectious diseases in a specific part of the city.”

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