Traces of the deadly virus, which has been wreaking havoc among humans for 15 months, have been established by IIT Gandhinagar researchers.
The study, funded by the UNICEF, did not specify if the genes of coronavirus found in water samples were dead or alive, Hindustan Times reported.
Research head Prof. Manish Kumar emphasised that further probe was needed to avert any possible tragedy.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to send samples from these water bodies to Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC).
“The GBRC is the authorised agency of the AMC for water analysis. We have been sending samples to them for the last one year and they submit their report to the state government. We have no idea about the IIT’s research. However, we will now send samples of these water bodies to the GBRC for a similar analysis,” said AMC engineer for Water Resources Harpalsinh Zala.
The study, conducted between September and December 2020, saw water samples being collected from Sabarmati river, Chandola and Kankaria lakes.
“Our aim was to detect the presence of N, S and ORF lab genes of SARS-CoV-2, also called as coronavirus, through RNA isolation. We found N-gene copies in the waters of the Sabarmati river, Chandola and Kankaria lakes,” said Prof. Kumar.
“Although genes of coronavirus were detected, our methodology does not tell us if they were alive or dead. However, we can’t just presume that they all were dead. Although virus transmission through water is not proven yet, institutions need to come together and conduct further research on this. Monitoring is needed,” he observed, adding that the report has been submitted to UNICEF.