Even as human beings heave a sigh of relief, following the Covid-19 pandemic, a similar pandemic is devastating amphibians across the globe. A team of scientists, including scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), has developed a diagnostic tool that can diagnose Chytridiomycosis, which is wiping out whole families of amphibians.

Scientists, including researchers from Australia and Panama, have developed tools that can save the lives of millions of frogs, toads and caecilians (limbless amphibians) across the world.

The disease, referred to as the driver of the ‘amphibian apocalypse’, has caused the extinction of over 90 amphibian species.

Also read: Scientists at CCMB develop new mRNA technology-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate

Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease in amphibians caused by two fungal pathogens – Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Researchers have developed and validated a new marker for the disease. The findings of their research have been published in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.

The team consists of Ph.D. scholars, researchers and scientists from CCMB, Bangalore University, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park and Ashoka University in India; the University of New South Wales, James Cook University, in Australia; and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

The study reported 70 per cent of amphibians were infected with Chytridiomycosis – a prevalence rate about 8 times higher than previously reported.

“Surveillance and monitoring must be effective in order to track infection in amphibian populations,” one of the scientists who participated in the research said.

Also read: We still need to find answers to many scientific questions on Covid-19: CCMB Director

“The new test can promote widespread efficient surveillance of chytridiomycosis in different parts of the world, and it might lead to new insights into the pathway transmission and infection,” Karthikeyan Vasudevan, the lead scientist from CCMB, said.