Researchers snooped during Nipah outbreak in Kerala: report


The story that came out on Wednesday as part of the ‘Pegasus Project’ confirmed the presence of the spyware in the phone of researcher Gagandeep Kang, during June 2018.

A Norway-based researcher, an individual from Manipal Centre for Virus Research and US’ Centre for Disease Control officials were snooped during the Nipah outbreak in Kerala, reports The Wire. The story that came out on Wednesday as part of the ‘Pegasus Project’ confirmed the presence of the spyware in the phone of researcher Gagandeep Kang, during June 2018.

The Nipah outbreak was started in May 2018. Kang, a board member of the Norway-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) requested the ICMR to share blood samples with them to carry on some research activities. However, they declined the request.

However, ‘The Wire’ is unable to link the snooping with the virus outbreak inconclusively. “There is circumstantial evidence to believe the attempt to surveil Kang is linked to the Nipah virus outbreak,” the report claims. Another individual from Manipal Centre for Virus Research (MCVR) was also surveilled at the same time. Kerala had relied on the Centre for testing the suspected Nipah samples.

Officials of the US CDC also appear on the “Indian list of persons of interest” for snooping a the same time period.

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