Virologist Shahid Jameel resigns as govt’s genome-mapping group head

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Known to speak his mind on scientific matters, Jameel had been critical of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus, particularly during the second wave

One of the most prominent scientific voices of the COVID-19 pandemic, virologist Shahid Jameel has resigned as the head of the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INSACOG), the scientific advisory group coordinating the country’s genome-sequencing work.

INSACOG had come into being in January this year as a scientific body to promote and expedite genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV2 virus and its multiple variants. The consortium had established a network of ten leading laboratories to carry out gene sequencing of virus samples from across the country. The consortium was initially given a tenure of six months but later got an extension. The genome-sequencing work, which had been progressing at a slow pace, gathered momentum only after the constitution of INSACOG.

Known to speak his mind on scientific matters, Jameel had been critical of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus, particularly during the second wave.

Last week, he spoke at the Express Explained event organised by the Indian Express newspaper; the article appeared on the website. 

At the event, he had said that government authorities had erred in prematurely believing that the pandemic was over in January, and by folding up many temporary facilities that had been set up in previous months.

Jameel had also criticised the Supreme Court’s recent decision to appoint a task force to manage oxygen supplies.

“This is really unfortunate. We are short on doctors and we have taken some of our best doctors and told them you play oxygen-oxygen. You decide who will get oxygen. It is really a sad day for us. These good doctors know about medicine, but what do they know about oxygen supply chain and logistics,” he had said at the Explained event.

(Edits by EH Bureau)

COVID-19Dr Shahid JameelINSACOGvirologist
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