Covid-19: Patient zero of Karnataka’s Nanjangud may remain a mystery forever

BENGALURU: The state government is unlikely to pursue efforts to get to the root of the Covid-19 infection in the Nanjangud cluster of Mysuru district, as there still isn’t any headway in the probe 40 days after the first case was reported, according to sources in the government.

Even Harsha Gupta, the special officer appointed to trace the source of the virus infection in Nanjangud, seems to have given up on it. “Based on interactions with subject experts, it is understood that it is neither feasible nor useful to trace ‘patient zero’ in Nanjangud. Although it was possible to infer the source of infection through a combination of RT-PCR and antibody tests in the early stage of infection, it is too late for the same,” the 1997-batch IAS officer said in his report, drafted in Kannada, to chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar.

Tracing patient zero will now not benefit the containment of the disease in future, rather it will only divert the energy of local authorities whose focus needs to be on the disease containment, the report says. A person in the government also said any further efforts were futile as the source of infection as well as his or her primary contacts had completed four weeks since the infection was reported.

The state’s spokesperson on Covid-19, education minister S Suresh Kumar, said he was yet to go through the report and take a view on it.

The infection that began from an employee of Noida-based pharma company Jubilant Life Sciences, which has a unit in Nanjangud, has spread to about 70 persons in Mysuru and Mandya districts.

Gupta has suggested that the government send blood samples of some of the initial Covid-19 patients from Nanjangud for antibody titres test overseas since the Covid-19 Elisa test is not available in India. “Titres test may help to find out who was the patient to get the infection in Nanjangud. The government may go ahead if the health department approves it,” according to the report.

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