‘I’m not doing anything controversial’: Virologist Gagandeep Kang responds to name on Pegasus list | Exclusive
As the The story of Pegasus continues to unfold, other names on the list of those allegedly targeted by spyware developed by the Israeli firm NSO are emerging. According to media consortium that published the reports suggesting that Pegasus was used to hack the phones of around 300 Indians, the names on the list are not limited to politicians and journalists.
One name that was on the list of potential targets is that of renowned virologist Gagandeep Kang. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in India, Kang was the voice of reason and scientific. She has not hesitated to call a spade a spade, especially when it comes to the government’s response to Covid-19.
After the news went public, India Today contacted Dr Kang. “I have no idea why anyone would be interested in anything I do. I study diarrhea which I think is important, but few other people, even in the health field, are interested in it, ”she told India Today.
POSSIBLE REASON FOR INCLUSION
On the reason for her inclusion in the controversial “espionage” list, Dr Kang said it might have something to do with the year 2018 where she was working on “getting more vaccine collaborations for Nipah but nothing was wrong. ‘has worked”.
At the time, she was working at the Translational Health Sciences and Technology Institute (THSTI), the prestigious Faridabad-based public health research institute under the Biotechnology Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
She was working on the response to the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala and had urged Indian health officials to share blood samples from those infected as part of a global initiative to develop vaccines against any future outbreaks of the virus. same type.
When asked if she was concerned that she had become a surveillance target, she replied, “I don’t know if this is something to be concerned about. I’m not doing anything controversial. I’m just a clinical scientist with a focus on public health research.
WHO IS DR GAGANDEEP KANG?
Dr Kang is the first Indian woman scientist to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in London. In addition to her contribution to the development of the rotavirus vaccine in India, Dr Kang is known for her work on the development and use of vaccines against cholera and typhoid. She has conducted large studies to define the burden, test vaccines and measure their impact.
As the pandemic raged, in July 2020, she unexpectedly stepped down as executive director of THSTI with one year in her tenure. Her resignation came about two months after the disbandment of a committee examining indigenous Covid-19 drugs and vaccines led by her. Dr Kang said she quit for personal reasons.
His name on the Pegasus List raises questions about privacy and data protection for scientists around the world.
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