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COVID-19: Alarmed by teachers’ deaths, AMU VC asks ICMR to study if 'new variant' responsible


New Delhi, May 10: After as many as 34 deaths among teachers and retired colleagues due to COVID-19 and COVID-like symptoms, the AMU vice-chancellor wrote to the ICMR on Sunday, urging it to study if a particular coronavirus variant is circulating around the campus.


In a letter to the director general of the ICMR, VC Tariq Mansoor said 16 serving and 18 retired teachers besides other employees of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have succumbed to the infection in the past 18 days.

There is a possibility that "a particular variant may be circulating in areas around the AMU campus and surrounding localities, which has led to these deaths", he said, stressing the need for the study to control the spread of the virus.

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

Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Principal Shahid Ali Siddiqui told mediapersons that 25 doctors at the hospital there tested positive for the infection in the past fortnight.

Two days ago, the head of the Medicine Department at the college, Prof Shadaab Khan, had died from COVID-19.

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

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