‘Study COVID variant circulating on AMU campus’: V-C, worried by deaths of faculty members, urges ICMR chief-India News , Firstpost


This comes a day after Dean of Faculty of Law at Aligarh Muslim University professor Shakil Ahmed Samdani, died on Saturday at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital where he was undergoing treatment for coronavirus

File image of Aligarh Muslim Univesity. Image courtesy www.amu.ac.in

Spooked by the recent deaths of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) faculty due to COVID-19 , Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Sunday penned a letter asking the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to study the ” COVID-19 variant” circulating around campus.

“This is to bring into your notice that 16 AMU faculty members, a number of retired teachers and employees in other categories, who were living in the university campus and adjoining localities have succumbed to COVID-19 . This is giving rise to a suspicion that a particular viral variant may be circulating in the Civil Lines area of Aligarh in which AMU and many adjoining localities are situated,” professor Mansoor wrote to ICMR chief Balram Bhargavam.

Study COVID variant circulating on AMU campus VC worried by deaths of faculty members urges ICMR chief

The letter from AMU V-C Tariq Mansoor to ICMR chief Balram Bhargava.

He further said the microbiology laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College is sending samples to the Institute of Genomic and Integrated Biology laboratory, New Delhi, for the genome sequencing of variants detected in the town.

“I request you to instruct the concerned section/department of the ICMR to perform analysis of COVID-19 samples sent from our lab to investigate for any particular viral variants of COVID-19 virus circulating in Aligarh, which may be giving rise to greater severity of the disease, so that we may consider other epidemiological links and measures to control the same as per advice and recommendations”, the letter further stated.

This comes a day after Dean of Faculty of Law at Aligarh Muslim University professor Shakil Ahmed Samdani, died on Saturday at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital where he was undergoing treatment for coronavirus , an official said.

AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar said 59-year-old Samdani was admitted to the hospital in the varsity 10 days ago after he tested positive for COVID-19 . He initially seemed to have recovered but his condition suddenly deteriorated a few days back, the official said.

On Friday, professor Rafiqul Zaman Khan (55), till recently the chairman of the Department Computer Science, passed away at the medical college hospital due to COVID-19 .  Two days ago, former dean of the Law Department, professor Mohamed Shabbir Ahmad (70), died of COVID-like symptoms.

He was the founder-head of the Ambedkar Chair in the Department of Law and had also served as the acting vice-chancellor of AMU, the spokesperson said.

On Thursday, AMU in a statement said that noted Sanskrit scholar professor Khalid Bin Yusuf passed away after a brief illness.

Professor Yusuf (60) was showing COVID-19 symptoms and had acute pneumonia, his family said. He passed away on Wednesday night while being treated at a hospital, they added. Professor Yusuf was the first Muslim in India to earn a doctorate on Rigveda, as per the statement.

Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College principal Shahid Ali Siddiqui told media that 25 doctors at the hospital there tested positive for the infection in the past fortnight. Currently, only three doctors are under treatment as others have recovered from the infection, he said. The head of the Medicine Department at the college, professor Shadaab Khan, had died from COVID-19 two days ago.

The college principal said the hospital is battling a shortage of medical oxygen and totally dependent on its three liquid oxygen plants. Since the past 12 days, the hospital has not received a single oxygen cylinder from outside despite continuous efforts, he said.

With inputs from PTI



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