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Ganga Declared Covid-Free, No Traces Of Coronavirus Found In The River

But scientists found presence of the novel coronavirus in the water of Gomti river in Lucknow, last year as well this year.

After several dead bodies were found floating in Ganga and Yamuna during May 2021, there has been apprehension that rivers may have been contaminated with SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19. There were also reports of a large number of bodies buried on the banks of the rivers during the peak of the pandemic. No need to worry anymore! Ganga is Covid-free, say scientists. The Ganga River has no trace of Covid-19 virus, concluded scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi and Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (BSIP), Lucknow, after a two-month research. Earlier, BSIP scientists had found traces of the novel coronavirus in the water of Gomti river in Lucknow, even after the treatment of sewage water at two sewage treatment plants (STPs). The scientists had found presence of the virus in the Gomti water in September 2020 as well as May 21 this year. To investigate possible traces of coronavirus in the Ganga, the BHU and BSIP team collected two samples every week for seven weeks (May 15 to July 3) from Varanasi city, according to Prof Gyaneshwar Chaubey of the department of zoology, BHU. The team extracted RNA and performed an RT-PCR test for all the samples. "Surprisingly, none of the samples collected from the Ganga showed any trace of the viral RNA. However, samples collected from river Gomti did show the presence of viral RNA," said BSIP scientist Niraj Rai, who heads the Covid Lab at the institute, as quoted by IANS. Prof V.N. Mishra of the BHU's department of neurosciences, who is one of the key contributors of this study, believes that Ganga water has some exceptional property due to some natural 'phage viruses' present in the water. He said that they are working on to understand this phenomenon.

Coronavirus found in Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad

Last month, researchers from IIT, Gandhinagar, and Jawaharlal Nehru University's School of Environment Science, had also found traces of novel coronavirus in water samples taken from the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The virus was also found in water samples collected from the city's Kankria and Chandola lakes. According to them, the virus could live in natural waters for too long. A study conducted by the ICMR's National Institute of Virology, Mumbai Unit and Division of Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases, New Delhi also found viral RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in sewage samples collected from Mumbai city during May 11-22, 2020. Suspecting that the virus found in sewage water may be a source of transmission of disease, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had already issued guidelines for disposal of human waste, including fecal waste generating from the covid dedicated hospitals and quarantine centres. It said that the waste should be properly treated before disposal. Further, it had directed sewage water treatment plants to ensure that they adopt all covid-19 precautions to protect the workers from the Covid-19. However, the US CDC said that there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus can spread to people through water in natural bodies of water (oceans, lakes), pools, water playgrounds, and hot tubs. The Union Health Ministry had also dismissed the possibility of COVID-19 spreading through water.

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