COVID-19: 6.6 lakh infected in Hyd, reveals study of feces

Hyderabad: Over six lakh people in the city are believed to be infected (and potential carriers) of the novel corona virus (COVID-19), revealed a joint study by the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology(IICT).

Individuals who are infected by COVID-19 shed virus not only through nasal and oral routes, but also through feces, said a press release from the premier scientific institutions on Wednesday. The results of the study were published after scientists harvested sewage samples to estimate the number of potentially infected individuals in the city.

Of the 1800 million litres water used daily in Hyderabad, 40% is processed at different sewage treatment plants (STPs), stated the release. Sewage samples from major STPs were processed for detecting the presence of COVID-19. While the COVID-19 was being detecting in the inlet samples, the outlet were largely clean.

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The study, which covered around 80% of the STPs in Hyderabad, revealed that there are around two lakh people who are shedding viral materials. Since only 40% of the city’s sewage reaches STPs, the overall number of potentially infected people has been estimated at about 6.6 lakhs, that is, around 6.6% of the city’s population (about one crore, including surrounding areas).

“Our finding clearly indicates that a large proportion of the affected individuals are asymptomatic and do not need hospitalization. This is also in agreement with the observation that hospitalization rush or mortality is way lower than otherwise expected with such a large infection rates at a given time. It explains why our healthcare system has been able handle reasonably well the situation during the pandemic,” said Dr. Rakesh Mishra, director, CCMB.

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The experiments were conducted at CCMB’s COVID-19 testing facility at Hyderabad,and the teams included Hemalatha Manupati, Kopperi Harishankar and S.Venkata Mohan from CSIR-IICT and Uday Kiran, C.G. Gokulan, Santosh Kumar Kuncha and Rakesh K Mishra from CCMB. Both the scientific institutions function under the aegis of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

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