Second Dose Of Covishield Should Be Taken After 8-12 Weeks: Gagandeep Kang

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Gagandeep Kang on Covishield vaccine: Professor Gagandeep Kang, who has extensive experience in vaccine research, said recently that the greenlighted Covishield vaccine is safe to be administered. However, she suggested that the second dose should be taken after “eight-twelve” weeks instead of the current gap of 28 days or four weeks. Covishield vaccine is developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.

A year after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Kang told The Wire that the present surge of COVID-19 cases in India is due to the lack of preventive behaviour and most probably because “COVID fatigue” has set in and people have stopped bothering about these measures.

Earlier in January this year, she had spoken about the approved vaccines’ effectiveness saying, “But if the vaccine were to be offered to me under conditions of ‘restricted use’, as a matter of ‘abundant caution’, in ‘clinical trial mode’, I would not take the vaccine without efficacy data, because it makes no sense to me. Once clinical efficacy data are available and have been reviewed by the regulator, [I have] no issues at all with taking the vaccine.”

In a recent interview, the professor at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory and one of the country’s top vaccine experts said that in the last few weeks the cases have been doubled, especially in Maharashtra, but she also emphasised that “if these people are being infected again because of a variant, which is not confirmed yet, we would inspect that infection and consequently disease would be modified in these individuals.” She further added that India would not “expect to see as severe disease the second time around when a person gets infected as we did the first time.”

Kang is the first Indian woman scientist to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), London.

The other two reasons, she said are a potential variant and “maybe sequencing isn’t keeping pace with the upswing”. She said, “it is distinctly possible we have variants”. These could be imported or local. However, Kang added that it’s more likely to be a local variant.

Kang, one of India’s top clinician-scientists, had last year resigned as executive director of the Translational Health Sciences and Technology Institute (THSTI), which is a Faridabad-based public health research institute under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Biotechnology.