Research shows that the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients might be huge in the Valley
KATHMANDU, July 4: In what is worrying news for Kathmanduites, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus has been detected in the sewers of Kathmandu.
A research conducted by the Center for Molecular Dynamics (CMDN) found the COVID-19 virus in two sewers of the Kathmandu Valley. The Kathmandu-based research center had collected samples from four major sewers in the Valley.
According to Dr Dibesh Karmacharya, the lead scientist of the research, the findings show that COVID-19 has already spread at the community level in the Kathmandu Valley. “Researches conducted in different countries have already found the COVID-19 virus in the excreta of infected persons. As the virus has been detected in sewers of the Kathmandu Valley, it can be concluded that COVID-19 has already been transmitted at the community level,” Dr Karmacharya told Republica Online.
The CMND has been conducting the research for the last three months.
“The findings show that the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients is high in the Kathmandu Valley. Now, the government needs to increase the ambit of testing to control the spread of the virus,” Dr Karmacharya said, adding that the same research has been conducted in several European and American countries to curb the spread of the virus.
Dr Karmacharya further added, “The research can be beneficial in tracking the communities infected by the virus. The government can collect samples from sewers in every ward to see the state of transmission in Nepal.”
In the meantime, Dr Sameer Mani Dixit, a public health expert, said that the government needs to increase the ambit of testing as the virus has already spread at the community level. “The number of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients might be huge,” Dr Dixit said.
While the government has released a National Testing Guideline, reducing the ambit of testing, Dr Dixit says that without proper testing the government will not know the state of COVID-19 in Nepal. “The government needs to test everyone who wants to be tested,” Dr Dixit said, adding that the research also shows a positive sign that patients are not showing COVID-19 complications.
“Sewers convey the excreta of thousands of people. So, it would not have been possible to detect COVID-19 virus if only a few people’s excreta had the virus. The samples tested positive as a huge chunk of people are infected with the virus,” Dr Dixit said.
As the virus has already spread at the community level, Dr Dixit recommends that people follow precautionary measures to stay safe from the virus. “People should follow measures such as social distancing, among others to stay safe at this time of the pandemic,” said Dr Dixit.