The Serum Institute of India (SII) on Sunday filed a 100 crores defamation suit against the participant, who claimed to suffer neurological and psychological damage as a result of taking the institute's COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' dose.
The 40-year-old Chennai-based volunteer of the vaccine had earlier sued the company claiming a 'virtual neurological breakdown', and sought ₹5 crores as compensation. The law firm representing the participant had sent a legal notice to SII and the drug regulatory authority.
In its official statement, the company rejected all the allegations, stating they are 'malicious and misconceived.' The company is sympathetic to the volunteer's medical condition, but there is no correlation with the vaccine trial and his illness.
The company further said the medical team specifically informed the volunteer that the complications he suffered were independent of the vaccine trial he underwent. "Despite specifically being made aware of the same, he still chose to go public and malign the reputation of the company," India Today reported.
SII also filed a criminal case against the volunteer. A senior official from the company told the media that the volunteer had recovered, and the claims were post-meditated attempt to extort the money.
The matter is being investigated by the Drugs Controller General of India and the institutional ethics committee.
The company has partnered with British drugmaker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to conduct 'Covishield' trials.
Copies of the legal notice by the volunteer were also sent to the UK Chief Executive of AstraZeneca, Chief Investigator of the Oxford trials and Vice-Chancellor of Sri Ramachandra Institute in Chennai, where the participant was administered with the drug.