'Monoclonal antibody therapy unethical and immoral': Dr Gagandeep Kang

Caption: Indian biologist Gagandeep Kang at the Royal Society ceremony in London (Credit: Royal Society)
Image Credit:IANS

New Delhi: Top virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang has termed the monoclonal antibody therapy in private hospitals for Omicron-led Covid infections treatment as "unethical, immoral and unscientific". She is known for her inter-disciplinary research studying the transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children in India.

According to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, "Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses."

In a series of tweets, Dr Kang said that it is "unethical, immoral and unscientific. Surely, as doctors we can teach and practice better medicine than this," she said in the tweet.

She further said that she received a call from a 90-year-old diabetic patient from Chennai who narrated to her that he was advised admission to the hospital for the antibody treatment because he was in contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV2.

"We know that 90% or greater infections are currently omicron in Indian cities. We know that the licensed monoclonal antibody products in India do not neutralise omicron. Yet doctors in private hospitals are prescribing monoclonal antibody therapy (and admission)", she said in subsequent tweet.

Dr Kang underlined that even among clinical vulnerable, most contacts will stay asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and recover. She said: "We have little data in India so we do not know whether 5% or 20% of vaccinated elderly with omicron will progress.

"In any case, all the ones who would have gotten better anyway will do fine--but having given antibodies, doctors will ascribe that to their treatment and the hospitals will laugh all the way to the bank. The argument I hear from well-meaning doctors (thankfully not infectious disease specialists) is that it is only one lakh and my patient can afford to buy it, so why not?" Dr Kang said in the tweet.

Replying to her own tweet, Dr Kang said, "Why not? It is unethical, immoral and unscientific. Surely, as doctors we can teach and practice better medicine than this".

Dr Kang said that as patients, please ask for what each drug is expected to do and the evidence to back that up.


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