As COVID-19 is wreaking havoc across India, at least forty-four employees of the Aligarh Muslim University – 19 professors and 25 non-teaching staff – have died after contracting the virus.
According to Kashmir Media Service, these deaths have sparked concern as yet more cases, and deaths, are emerging from the prestigious educational institution.
The AMU Vice Chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, has written a letter to the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research, the central government’s nodal body in this crisis) to say the deaths were from a “lethal” variant, and asked for genome sequencing.
“This is giving rise to 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,” the Vice Chancellor wrote.
As per Indian media, samples have been sent to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi to conduct genome sequencing to identify the particular strain(s).
Dr Arshi Khan, a professor of political science, said the university’s cemetery is now full. “This is a huge tragedy.
A lot of big doctors and senior professors, including a dean and a chairman, have died. Young people – who were fit and healthy – have also died,” he said.
The press officer at AMU pointed out that the university played an important role in helping the local community when the first Covid wave struck.
“This time it is worse… the mortality rate is much more this time, and it is a matter of huge concern,” the AMU spokesperson, Shafey Qidwayi, said.—INP