Covishield Controversy: Indian Vaccine Trials Lack Transparency?

In this mesh of lawsuits and counter lawsuits, what does the Serum Institute controversy mean for us? 

1 min read

At a time when the Serum Institute of India (SII) is seeking emergency authorisation of Covishield (which is what the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is called in India), the company has found itself embroiled in a big controversy over allegations of side effects from trials.

While on one hand, the company CEO Adar Poonawala has dubbed the vaccine to be "highly effective" against coronavirus and already announced plans of manufacturing a million doses by December 2020, a 40-year-old man from Chennai has filed a Rs 5-crore worth lawsuit against the company on 21 November alleging severe neurological impairment in aftermath of the trial shot.

In a legal notice, the volunteer has also asked for the trials and further manufacturing plans to be suspended, failing to do which, he warned of more legal action.

The company in turn sued the volunteer back, on 30 November, with a Rs 100 crore lawsuit claiming his allegations to be “malicious and misconceived.”

But how did this controversy start and in this mesh of lawsuits and counter lawsuits, what does this development mean for us?

In this podcast you'll hear from Bioethics experts Dr Anant Bhan and Dr Amar Jesani talk about their concerns around the Serum Institute controversy. Tune in!

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