Aligarh: In order to analyse the severity of Covid-19 and its suspected new variant that wreaked havoc in Aligarh as many faculty members, retired teachers and other employees of the university succumbed to it, the samples collected at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved Covid-19 Testing Laboratory of the Department of Microbiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have been sent for viral genome sequencing to the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi after suspicions of a new Covid variant fuelling the surge of Coronavirus cases in Aligarh.
These samples have been sent in accordance with the ICMR guidelines with a letter of the AMU Vice Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor.
Prof Mansoor wrote to Professor Balram Bhargava (Director General, ICMR) requesting him to instruct the concerned ICMR section/department to perform analysis of these Covid-19 samples.
He stated in the letter: “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”.
“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”, wrote Prof Mansoor.