New Delhi: The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has denied allegations made by a participant in a trial for the Covid-19 vaccine being manufactured by it. ThePrint had reported Saturday that the participant, a 40-year-old Chennai-based man had alleged that he suffered neurological and psychological symptoms after taking the experimental shots, and asked for Rs 5 crore in compensation.
The legal notice sent by the participant’s counsel said he “must be compensated, in the least, for all the sufferings that he and his family have undergone and are likely to undergo in future”.
However, the SII’s statement released Sunday said there is no correlation between the vaccine trial and the medical condition of the participant. It also called the lawsuit “malicious and misconceived”.
Volunteer’s complications ‘independent of vaccine trial’
According to the legal notice, the participant, whose identity has been withheld on the request of his lawyer, has been diagnosed with acute neuro encephalopathy, which is allegedly a a side-effect of the ‘Covishield’ shots that he took on 1 October. Covishield is being developed by the University of Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca, and SII has a tie-up for manufacturing a billion doses of it. Covishield is among the frontrunners in the race to develop an effective vaccine against Covid-19.
The SII has, however, denied the allegations. “The allegations in the notice are malicious and misconceived. While the Serum Institute of India is sympathetic with the volunteer’s medical condition, there is absolutely no correlation with the vaccine trial and the medical condition of the volunteer. The volunteer is falsely laying the blame for his medical problems on the Covid vaccine trial,” the institute’s statement read.
It added that the “claim is malicious because the volunteer was specifically informed by the medical team that the complications he suffered were independent of the vaccine trial he underwent. In spite of specifically being made aware of the same, he still chose to go public and malign the reputation of the company”.
“It is evident that the intention behind the spreading of such malicious information is an oblique pecuniary motive. The Serum Institute of India will seek damages in excess of Rs 100 crore for the same and will defend such malicious claims,” the statement read.