Serum Institute Says “Incident With Volunteer No Way Induced By Vaccine”

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The Oxford coronavirus vaccine is “safe and immunogenic”, the Serum Institute of India has asserted today, battling a massive controversy over a trial volunteer in Chennai alleging adverse effects including “virtual neurological breakdown, memory loss and behavioral changes”.

In a statement, the Adar Poonawalla-led Serum Institute also defended its legal notice to sue the volunteer, saying it was sent to “safeguard the reputation of the company which is being unfairly maligned.”

The vaccine-maker, calling the volunteer’s allegations “malicious and misconceived”, is prepping to file a ₹ 100 crore defamation suit. Some experts have expressed concern over what they see as an attempt to intimidate the trial participant.

“The COVISHIELD vaccine is safe and immunogenic. The incident with the Chennai volunteer though highly unfortunate was in no way induced by the vaccine and Serum Institute of India is sympathetic with the volunteer’s medical condition,” Serum Institute said in its statement on what it called the “serious adverse event” reported by the volunteer.

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