SARS-CoV-2 RNA found in wastewaters of Bangladesh

20 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

A team of scientists from Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) and North South University (NSU) has detected SARS-CoV-2 viruses' genetic material in the sewage water for the first time, said press release.

The team was led by Professor Firoz Ahmed, Chairman Department of Microbiology, Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU).

The team collected specimens in between 10th July and 29th August, 2020 from drain, sewage and toilets near Shaheed Bhulu Stadium Detention Centre for Covid-19 patients at Noakhali, Bangladesh. The team successfully detected several genes including ORF1ab, and N protein genes, from the sewage water samples. 

The uniqueness of the study has been the tracing of genetic load in the vicinity of isolation center that contains almost the constant number with Covid-19 patients. This has been the key feature of this study as most of the study reported worldwide has either reported total infected person in the city or country. However, the critical observation has been the temporal variation where small drains showed reduction of genetic load, the bigger canal and main sewer city exhibited temporal accumulation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. On the other hand, distance of sampling location in meters appears to be insignificant from the perspective of wastewater surveillance of Covid-19. 

According to the renowned virologist and former Vice Chancellor of BSMMU Professor Dr Nazrul Islam, it is internationally recognized the presence of Covid-19 in the gastro intestine system and therefore, the method developed by the team to identify the presence of Covid-19 in the sewage water could serve as a tool to prevent the future spread of the disease.  Prof Nazrul considers the initiative of the group as a remarkable achievement in developing an effective waste water surveillance system in Bangladesh.