February 7, 2023

The researchers included these from University of Strathclyde and IIT Bombay (Representational)


UK and Indian scientists have collectively developed a low-cost sensor that may detect fragments of the virus answerable for COVID-19 inside wastewater, paving the way in which for well being officers to get a greater understanding of how prevalent the illness is in a bigger space.

The method, developed by researchers from the University of Strathclyde and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, could possibly be used to allow widespread monitoring of COVID-19 prevalence in low- and middle-income international locations which battle to conduct mass human testing.

The sensor can be utilized with moveable gear that makes use of the usual Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) check to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with out the necessity for the costly chemical compounds and lab infrastructure wanted for real-time quantitative PCR exams, in keeping with the analysis revealed not too long ago within the journal, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

The sensor was examined with wastewater collected from a sewage therapy plant in Mumbai spiked with SARS-Cov-2 Ribonucleic Acid (RNA).

Dr Andy Ward, Chancellor’s Fellow within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, mentioned: “Many low- to middle-income countries face a challenge in tracking COVID-19 in people because of limited access to the necessary facilities for mass testing.

“Looking for traces of the virus inside wastewater would allow public well being officers to get a greater understanding of how prevalent the illness is in a bigger space.”

Testing of wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid is already widely recognised as tool to identify areas where the case numbers are likely to be increasing and therefore allow more targeted action to be taken to limit viral spread in specific regions, Ward said.

“However, the present gold-standard technique of real-time PCR testing (qPCR) requires costly laboratory gear and expert scientists to finish. Furthermore, if assets are restricted, testing of human samples would almost definitely take priority over wastewater epidemiology surveillance. Therefore, decrease value, different approaches are required in an effort to assist wastewater surveillance,” he said.

The researchers found that the sensor was able to detect the genetic material at concentrations as low as 10 picograms per microlitre.

Dr Siddharth Tallur, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay, said: “The technique we now have developed is not only relevant to SARS-CoV-2, it could possibly be utilized to some other virus so it’s totally versatile.

“In the future, we’ll focus on optimising the assay further to increase accuracy and also integrate the assay with a portable platform to handle both PCR reaction and electrochemical measurement.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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