According to Prof Sharma’s daughter Diksha, who teaches in National PG College, he experienced fever on March 21 and got himself tested on March 23 at a private diagnostic centre, where the RT-PCR test report then came negative. His family doctor later diagnosed pneumonia, but the condition did not improve despite medication. On doctor’s advice, on March 25, he went to a hospital in Gomtinagar, where the CT Scan report indicated that he might have Covid-19. He was then admitted to ICU in a private Covid hospital in Gomtinagar where a second RT-PCR test on March 28 found him positive. He died on Thursday due to respiratory failure due to double pneumonia. Doctors said that he also had diabetes and hypertension.
Prof Sharma’s colleagues in LU were shocked to learn about his demise and held the false Covid negative test report on March 23 that led to late diagnosis responsible for the unfortunate event.
“He used to follow Covid precautions religiously and stepped out of his house after a long gap to take the vaccine jab. Thereafter, he might have felt a bit secured and came to campus for his pension related work when he caught infection”, said a colleague.
Prof Sharma is the third LU professor to have succumbed to Covid-19 in the past six months after former head Botany Prof Dinesh Kumar (73) and professor of applied economics Prof VK Goswami (52).
Apart from their contribution in science, Prof Sharma and Prof Kumar also have the credit of starting the institute of mass communication in science and technology, a unique initiative taken way back in 2000 and successfully running it for 20 years, producing many journalists. The loss of the two personalities sent a wave of sorrow among teachers and students.
The varsity mourned the death of Prof Sharma who was amongst the few protozoologists in UP. Students described Prof Sharma as soft-spoken and a brilliant academician. The zoology department held an online condolence meet to pay tribute to the departed soul.
“It’s a great loss for the entire academic fraternity. Prof Sharma published around 80 research papers in national and international journals, besides supervising 20 PhDs and authoring two books in his 33 years career before retiring from services in 2019,” said Prof Omkar of the zoology department.
“Prof Sharma did his PhD in 1982 under renowned proto zoologist Dr. BN Singh of Central Drug Research Institute and joined LU as a faculty in 1986. He was recipient of several prestigious awards for his research in science communication and environment protection,” said Prof Amita Kanaujia of zoology department.