Chennai Pharma Firm Employee Dies as ‘COVID Experiment’ Goes Wrong

While the employee lost his life in the process, the owner of the company is undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Updated10 May 2020, 09:24 AM IST
2 min read

As medical and science experts around the globe are scrambling to find a cure for COVID-19, a pharma company founder and his long-term employee were involved in a medical experiment that went horribly wrong in Chennai. The duo were trying to invent a cure for COVID-19, according to the police.

While the employee lost his life in the process, the owner of the company is undergoing treatment in a hospital.

Dr Rajkumar, the founder of Sujatha Biotech (which manufactures and sells the cough syrup ‘Nivaran 90’, Memory Plus and Velvette shampoo) and Sivanesan (47), his company’s manager, were conducting a medical experiment on themselves when the incident happened, as per the police.

Sivanesan had been working in the company for around 27 years.

“Their products that are in the market were mostly developed together by these two men. Similarly, they wanted to invent a cure for COVID-19 and they assumed that one way to do that would be to somehow increase the count of blood cells in the body. They both, hence, ingested sodium nitrate tablets while conducting an ‘experiment’ in a lab at Rajkumar’s house in GN Chetty Road,” a police officer said.

However, they both fainted in the lab immediately. Rajkumar’s family members rescued the duo and admitted them in a private hospital in T Nagar, where Sivanesan died of complications in the wee hours of Friday, 8 May.

Rajkumar is out of danger and is still in hospital. The police, who were alerted, sent Sivanesan’s body to the Omandurar Government Hospital for postmortem.

“We have registered a case under section 174 of the CrPC and are awaiting Sivanesan’s autopsy report. Based on that, we will alter the FIR. No arrests have been made yet and the probe is still going on,” the police officer added.

Police have also inspected Rajkumar’s lab, and seized the chemicals and medicines from there. These have been sent for forensic and medical analysis.

(This story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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Published: 10 May 2020, 08:10 AM IST
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