Dr NK Arora, Chairperson of COVID Working Group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ANI)
New Delhi: With a continuous decline in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) has started surveillance of sewage water at 19 different sites in 15 States to detect the presence of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
"Sewage water Surveillance started in India at 19 different sites in more than 15 states," said Dr NK Arora, Chairperson of COVID Working Group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
The surveillance which is called environmental surveillance was also done during the polio campaign in India.
INSACOG has also clearly said that India hasn't reported any case of the XE variant of COVID as of now.
"When cases reduce then sensitivity increases because most of the COVID cases are asymptomatic. If there is a new variant emerging, sensitivity increases, even if the number of cases is less," Dr Arora told ANI.
The environmental surveillance also helps to pick up any mutation or new variant circulation in the population, and any geographical trends in the infection scenario.
Earlier many scientists recommended environmental surveillance as an important indicator of the virus.
Dr Priya Abraham, Director, ICMR-NIV, Pune told ANI, "Environmental surveillance which people are doing is actually the sewage water sampling, which is like an indirect indicator that a particular area from where that sewage water is being drained from still has COVID activity. So that's one way to do environmental monitoring or surveillance."