Covid-19 vaccine trial in India: Covishield volunteer alleges side effects, seeks compensation of ₹5 crore
Chennai/New Delhi: An Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial participant in Chennai has sought a compensation of ₹five crore for allegedly suffering serious side effects from the shot, a claim which is being investigated by the Drugs Controller General of India and the institutional ethics committee at the trial site.
A senior ICMR official said that a preliminary assessment has not indicated any causal link between the alleged adverse events shown by the volunteer and the ‘Covishield’ vaccine.
The 40-year-old business consultant, who was a volunteer for the third phase of the vaccine trial conducted by Serum Institute of India (SII), has alleged he suffered a virtual neurological breakdown and impairment of cognitive functions, and has sent a legal notice to SII and others.
However, the SII on Sunday rejected the charges as “malicious and misconceived” and said it will seek damages in excess of ₹100 crore.
The man was administered the shot at Chennai’s Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (SRIHER), one of the trial sites on October 1.
A law firm on his behalf has now sent a legal notice to Director General of ICMR, CEO, Serum Institute of India Private Limited, Pune, Drugs Controller General of India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, CEO, Astra Zeneca UK, Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of Oxford Vaccine Trial and Vice Chancellor of Sri Ramachandra Higher Education and Research.
The man has sought a compensation of ₹5 crore and that the testing, manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine be stopped immediately.
The SII has partnered with British-Swedish biopharmaceutical giantAstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
Dr Samiran Panda, who heads the Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases (ECD) division of the ICMR, said the causal link, if any, of the serious adverse events with the investigational product is objectively assessed in any clinical trial following a pre-defined scientific pathway and within a stipulated period.
“Any hurried inquiry or inference is prone to be wrong. Both the institutional ethics committee and the DCGI are investigating the causal links, if any, between the adverse events and investigational product, which is an anti-coronavirus vaccine. A preliminary assessment has not indicated any causal link as yet,” Dr Panda said.
According to the legal notice, the information provided in the ‘Participant Information Sheet (PIS)’ was absolutely certain that Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford University, is safe and the man was hence led to believe it.
Hence, he decided to become a volunteer and signed the informed consent on September 29 and the test result for antibodies against coronavirus turned negative the same day.
On October 1, he was administered the vaccine.
Though there was no side effects for the first 10 days, he subsequently had episodes like severe headache and vomiting.
Detailing the sequence of events since October 11 when he was admitted to the Ramachandra Hospital and as narrated by the man’s wife, the notice said he showed behavioural changes…..Read More>>