'Unacceptable', ICMR rubbishes BHU study on Covaxin side effects

Bharat Biotech Covaxin
Representative image: IANS

New Delhi: Amid the heated debates on the side effects of Covaxin, a vaccine against COVID-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) rejected a recent study led by Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which claimed that Covaxin raised the rare risk of stroke, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, among others. The government body termed the findings 'misleading' and 'unacceptable'.

The ICMR has written to the Editor of the New Zealand-based Drug Safety Journal to retract the recently-published Covaxin side effects study by authors from BHU as the apex research body has been "incorrectly and misleadingly acknowledged in the paper."

"The ICMR is not associated with this study and has not provided any financial or technical support for the research," the apex research body wrote in the letter.

"Further, you have acknowledged ICMR for research support without any prior approval of or intimation to lCMR, which is inappropriate and unacceptable," it added.

ICMR, DG, Dr Rajiv Bahl, in the letter, said that the apex research body cannot be associated with this poorly-designed study which purports to present a "safety analysis" of Covaxin.

Dr Bahl has asked the study's authors and the journal's editor to remove the acknowledgement to ICMR and publish an erratum.
"We have also noticed that you have similarly acknowledged ICMR in similar previous papers without permission," Dr Bahl wrote.

He also asked for an explanation from the study's authors on "why ICMR should not seek legal and administrative action" against them.

(With IANS inputs)

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