Scientists have finally been able to identify a pathogen that has been causing huge damage to rose cultivation in the state and which started around the same time when the pandemic hit on December 19, therefore, making a section of farmers refer it to as "coronavirus of roses."

Scientists of the plant pathology department of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV) have identified the pathogen that causes the destruction. However, proper remedial methods to protect roses are yet to be determined.

"A team from BCKV visited this year to collect samples, and we can confirm now that it is downy mildew infection," said Birendra Nath Panja, professor and head of the plant and pathology department, BCKV. Downy mildew syndrome is occasionally found in vegetables like brinjal, pointed gourd, and cucumber.

Swapan Kr Maity, assistant director of agriculture, Panskura, said the pathogen was not unknown but never so predominant or reported before in rose plants. "Global warming and fluctuation in temperature might be the reasons responsible for the sudden spurt of infection," he said.