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Top Indian virologist resigns from government panel after airing differences | India News


NEW DELHI: A leading Indian virologist has resigned from a government-established forum of scientific advisers to screen for coronavirus variants, he told Reuters on Sunday, weeks after questioning the authorities’ handling of the pandemic.
Shahid Jameel, chairman of the forum’s scientific advisory group known as INSACOG, declined to give a reason for his resignation.
“I am not required to give a reason,” he said in a text message, adding that he resigned on Friday.
Renu Swarup, the secretary of the Department of Biotechnology overseeing INSACOG, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters reported earlier this month that INSACOG, India’s SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium, warned government officials in early March about a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus that is taking hold in the country. . The variant, B.1.617, is one reason India is currently battling the world’s worst increase in COVID-19 cases.
When asked why the government did not respond more forcefully to the findings, for example by restricting large gatherings, Jameel told Reuters he was concerned that authorities weren’t paying enough attention to the evidence while setting policy.

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