Officers sitting on untapped vaccine manufacturing potential must be charged with Manslaughter

Saying there is a tearing emergency to fast-track approvals and handhold vaccine manufacturers in the country, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday said some people need to be “charged with manslaughter” for sitting on the untapped potential of Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing.

The court said some urgent hand-holding is required for manufacturing vaccines which is missing because of “fear psychosis” and this potential should not be taken away by foreigners.

“The problem is of fear psychosis that some vigilance enquiry will take place, audit will take place, police investigation will take place. Tell them, this is not the time to be wary of these investigations and audit reports. This is leading to deaths today. Actually some people need to be charged with manslaughter for sitting over this untapped potential,” a bench of Justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri said.

The development came in a application filed by Panacea Biotech seeking release of an arbitral award passed earlier in its favour.
It has thus been stated by Panacea that it had manufactured trial batches of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in collaboration with Russian Direct Investment Fund (for short ‘RDIF’) and the process of manufacturing scale-up batches is on.

Then the Centre told the court that Panacea’s manufacture of Sputnik V may not help India as its supply is meant for global sale. The Centre also said the company’s samples in India are still pending approval with the statutory authority, which means Panacea is still a month away from commercial production.

To this, Panacea argued that the government had on June 1 waived the bridge trials for certain foreign vaccines.

The matter will be taken up next for further hearing on June 4.

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