Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla (File Photo, Image credit:

Embarrassing moments for govt as wordy duel starts between Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute

A day after the Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla said that apart from Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, “everything else has proven to be safe just like water” the Bharat Biotech on Monday came out strongly against the statement given by him.

Poonawalla’s comment questioning the efficacy of Bharat Biotech came on Jan 3 just hours after the Drug Controller General of India approved Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield.

The founder and Chairman of Bharat Biotech Dr Krishna Ella took strong objections to the language used by Poonawalla and said that it is an insult to the country and all those engaged in the indigenously developed vaccine. It hurt all those scientists engaged in its research. According to Dr Ella it is a part of an exercise to defame the country-made vaccine. He claimed that his vaccine is 200% safe.

The war of words between the two firms has seriously embarrassed the government as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 28 himself visited Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute in Pune and appreciated the research works done by the scientists.

Poonawalla’s remarks have somewhat vindicated the stand of the opposition parties who are questioning the hasty manner in which the Centre on Jan 3 approved the two vaccines.

As reported the Bharat Biotech has not come out with its efficacy data when the Centre gave its approval. Several internationally renowned experts on the subject, such as Dr Fahim Yunus of the United States have also questioned the manner in which the Indian government gave a go-ahead to the vaccine.

As the top brass of the two firms are locked in a verbal battle the average people are getting confused over the Modi government’s vaccination drive. The fear and misgivings about the vaccines have increased.

Instead of clearing doubts over the two vaccines the beleaguered government is busy flaying the opposition parties.

Many opposition leaders are of the opinion that the government wants to shift the attention of the people from the farmers’ movement and come out with something which would be appreciated by the people.

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