The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus is coping with an alarming number of deaths of its ex and serving professors. As stated by AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor in his letter to ICMR Director-General Professor Balram Bhargava, 16 serving and 18 retired teachers besides other staffers of AMU have died in the last 18 days due to coronavirus, suggesting “that a particular viral variant may be circulating in the Civil Lines area of Aligarh in which AMU and many other adjoining localities are situated.”
In order to learn about the virulence of the infection and a suspected new variant, the varsity has sent COVID samples to the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi. These samples of coronavirus were collected at the CSIR approved COVID-19 testing microbiology laboratory at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College.
“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,” AMU VC Mansoor wrote in a letter accompanying the COVID samples.
As per media sources, the toll of retired and serving AMU professors lost to COVID (all of whom were admitted in Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College) is at least 40. The casualties include 60-year-old Khalid Bin Yusuf – a celebrated Sanskrit scholar, popular for being the first Indian Muslim to earn a PhD in Rigveda, 58-year-old Shadaab Khan – head of medicine department at AMU, 59-year-old Shakil Ahmed Samdani – Dean, Faculty of Law, AMU, amongst others. Last Friday, AMU VC’s brother Ahmed Qamar Farooq, a private doctor, had also passed away due to coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the online classes continue for the AMU students, in accordance with the UP Government’s lockdown instructions.