Environment Surveillance initiative in Bangalore involves systematic and regular testing of the city wastewater to detect the presence of degraded SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The samples are regularly collected from open drains and sewersheds. The the results are shared on our public dashboard as well as through the platform’s Twitter handle. This health surveillance platform hosts a city-wide wastewater surveillance system in Bangalore which serves as a guide to local governments/municipalities to regularly monitor wastewater for the presence of the COVID virus. The initiative has been running over a year in Bangalore having tested over 5,500 wastewater samples for presence of SARS-CoV-2
As of August 2022, the initiative has also started to test the wastewater for presence of virus causing Influenza A, Influence B, H1N1, MonkeyPox along with degraded SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
This effort is possible through strong inter-agency collaboration between Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), and other partners.
In Bangalore, the platform is supporting city local administrative bodies (BBMP & BWSSB) through the expertise of the following partner organizations
Bangalore has been a trailblazer in demonstrating the significance of wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 and continues to explore other pathogens of pandemic proportions.
Wastewater being representative of community-based urine and fecal samples could be of immense importance in understanding the occurrence and outbreaks of not just SARS-CoV-2 but several other/new pathogens present in wastewater such as bacteria (Salmonella spp., Vibrio cholerae, and others), and viruses (monkeypox, influenza, norovirus, sapovirus, others) which are of public health importance or of pandemic potential or both. The Precision Health platform has established such integrated wastewater surveillance in Bangalore to provide early warning signs to the Government about the presence of Influenza (Influenza A, Influenza B and H1N1), Monkeypox along with SARS-CoV-2, thus enabling actions to mitigate and prevent adverse public health outcomes.
Use of Genomic Surveillance
Apart from long running surveillance initiatives the platform has also conducted pilot studies on other relevant areas of work in wastewater surveillance such as antimicrobial resistance and testing wastewater for the presence of pharmaceutical compounds.
Antimicrobial Resistance: may be a natural phenomenon but its development and spread are driven by several factors such as antimicrobials being misused or overused in humans, plants and animals, limited availability/access to vaccines, diagnostics and appropriate treatment; poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene; lack of infection prevention and control; resistant pathogens being transmitted through the food chain; and lack of appropriate waste management systems.” (WHO 2021).
A pilot study on antimicrobial resistance conducted through the Precision Health Platform provided insights on the trends of emerging resistance to antibiotics such as carbapenamases. Data obtained from citywide surveillance of antimicrobial resistance through wastewater could enable policy and action in bringing about change in healthcare consultancy and ensuring that healthcare institutions follow certain mandates to ensure safe disposal of clinical waste into the environment.
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The Precision Health Platform conducted a pilot study with an objective to analyze wastewater samples from Bangalore city to estimate the presence of 5 pharmaceutical compounds such – Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Amoxicillin, Azithromycin, and Doxycycline. The results of this Antibiotic and Antipyretic Pilot Study indicated the presence of Paracetamol and Azithromycin in wastewater.
Partner & Health Lead, Swasti & Catalyst Group
Molecular Solutions Care Health (MSCH)
Project Manager, CDD Societ
Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Senior Scientist, Tat Institute for Genetics and Society
Molecular Biologist Molecular Solutions Care Health
Engineer & Entrepreneur, PCMH Restore Health
Founder & Director, PCMH Restore Health
Advisor Trustee, Biome Environmantal Trust
Director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society
Founder & Managing Director, Neshanju Envirotech Pvt. Ltd.
Sr. Technical Lead, Swasti
Technical Specialist, Swasti