The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Sunday said that it has sent samples collected at its Covid-19 testing laboratory to the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi for viral genome sequencing as there is a growing suspicion of a new Covid-19 variant fueling the surge of coronavirus cases in Aligarh.
In recent weeks, AMU has witnessed the death of 16 staff members from Covid-related complications.
“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 on the university campus and adjoining localities have succumbed to Covid-19,” Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor wrote in a letter accompanying the samples.
“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,” Mansoor added in the letter.
AMU PRO Omar Peerzada said that the samples have been sent in accordance with the ICMR guidelines. “The university is deeply concerned with the death of its faculty members and other employees,” he added.