INSACOG to track SARS-CoV-2 in Sewage: Basics Explained

In view of currently declining cases and importance of early detection of increased transmission in the future, INSACOG will prioritize developing and expanding a SARS-CoV-2 sewage surveillance program. INSACOG, a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Health Ministry is involved in genome sequencing.

            The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, which is also part of the INSACOG network, has since early 2020 been collecting sewage from large drains in cities to check for the presence of the virus.

Because a large fraction of those afflicted by the virus are asymptomatic but are carriers of infection, their body fluids and stool often contain traces of the virus.Finding large proportions of it in public drains can often be a precursor to a fresh outbreak, with a rise in symptomatic infections.

                    Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY.x) continues to be the main VOC (Variant of Concern) in India. No new VOI (Variant of Interest) or VOC are noted in India.

Viruses constantly change through mutation. A variant has one or more mutations that differentiate it from other variants in circulation. As expected, multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been documented globally throughout this pandemic.
A variant of interest is one that is “suspected” to either be more contagious than the initial strain, cause more severe disease, or escape the protection offered by vaccines.
Variant of Concern
A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.


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