Many in the scientific community were surprised to see the sudden resignation of reputed virologist Gagandeep Kang as Executive Director of THSTI, Institute of Public Health Investigations, based in Faridabad under the DBT, Ministry of Science and Technology. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her greatest achievements, Dr. Kang is one of the prominent India-based doctors who played a key role in the development of the Indigenous Rotavirus Vaccine popularly known as ‘Rotavac’ and is the first-ever Indian woman to be elected as a Fellow in Royal Society, London.
However, what leads to one of the topmost virologists resign in the times when the COVID-hit society needs her the most? Many speculations are doing the rounds. Her resignation has come shortly after the group constituted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the National COVID-19 taskforce to look at prospective vaccine candidates in India was disbanded within a month. Dr. Gagandeep Kang was leading the group.
She had a year to complete before her term at the institute, an autonomous body under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology but Dr. Kang, 57, announced her decision amongst the faculty members at the institute on Monday morning and reportedly requested the Department to relieve her by the end of August.
In a statement given to one of the print news mediums, she said, “If I had to resign because of the disbanding of the committee, I would have done it in the same month. I continue to be on several other committees made by the government and I will give my suggestions as and when required. I have resigned due to personal reasons.”
However, some of her colleagues who didn’t wish to be named shared that, ” Although it’s her personal choice to continue or not, the government could have tried to retain during the pandemic”. Adding that an eminent personality like Kang is an outsider for the faulty Indian bureaucratic scientific establishment, where big egos, sycophancy, and politics have been rooted deeply.
Dr. Gagandeep Kang had been closely involved in researching for the vaccine against the novel coronavirus in recent months. Her resignation came as India fights a fierce battle against the virus – and only one day after India surpasses Russia to become the third most severely – hit country in the world.