Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla
File Photo

Amid controversy over remarks by Adar Poonawalla hinting that Covaxin was “safe like water”, the Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO on Tuesday said his company will issue a joint statement with Bharat Biotech to clear up the "recent miscommunication".

In an apparent jibe at Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Poonawalla had told NDTV that only three COVID-19 vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca - had passed all the scientific evaluations while rest were “safe like water”.

The Drug Controller General of India on Sunday approved the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

Covaxin has not yet cleared the Phase III trials and is yet to release efficacy data.

Industry experts and some opposition leaders have expressed concern over the absence of Phase 3 trial data on Covaxin and have questioned the drug regulator's move to approve the vaccine for emergecny use.

Krishna Ella, chairman of Bharat Biotech, rejected criticism on Monday and said it has done "200 percent honest clinical trials" and yet it was receiving "backlash".

Bharat Biotech was the only company to have a Bio Safety Level 3 (BSL- 3) production facility, he noted.

"We do 200 per cent honest clinical trials and yet we receive a backlash. If I am wrong, tell me. Some companies have branded me 'water'. I want to deny that. We are scientists," he said.

Poonawalla tweeted on Tuesday that a joint public statement clearing up any recent miscommunication with regards to Bharat Biotech will be made.

He also clarified that exports of vaccines are permitted to all countries.

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