Representative image
Representative image
Photo: Unsplash/@mufidpwt

Days after pointing out that scientists are facing "stubborn resistance to evidence-based policymaking", noted virologist Shahid Jameel quit as the head of INSACOG, a central government panel that conducts genome sequencing of coronavirus.

Jameel announced his plan to step down in a meeting of INSACOG held on Friday, said two officials who were part of it.

An official said the virologist did not give any reason for why he was quitting.

Last week, Jameel had written a piece on the second wave of coronavirus in the 'New York Times'.

"All of these measures have wide support among my fellow scientists in India. But they are facing stubborn resistance to evidence-based policymaking. On April 30, over 800 Indian scientists appealed to the prime minister, demanding access to the data that could help them further study, predict and curb this virus," he said in the piece.

"Decision-making based on data is yet another casualty, as the pandemic in India has spun out of control. The human cost we are enduring will leave a permanent scar," he added.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) is a grouping of 10 national laboratories that was established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on December 25 last year after new variants of coronavirus like the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants emerged.

INSACOG has been carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating COVID-19 viruses and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.

However, it came under criticism after the second wave of coronavirus swept the country.

Earlier this month, Jameel had told Reuters, "Policy has to be based on evidence and not the other way around."

"I am worried that science was not taken into account to drive policy. But I know where my jurisdiction stops. As scientists we provide the evidence, policymaking is the job of the government," Jameel had said.

The news has since gone viral on Twitter where people are asking Jameel whether he resigned or he was made to resign. People are also furious at the government for not listening to the advice of experts amidst the second wave of Coronavirus that has already wreaked havoc across the country.

The opposition as well as the general public have been criticising the Indian government after Jameel's resignation.

Here's what the opposition parties and citizens on Twitter have to say about Shahid Jameel's resignation. Have a look.

With inputs from PTI.

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