Home HEALTH ICMR draws flak from experts over call for BHU study retraction

ICMR draws flak from experts over call for BHU study retraction

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Universal Health Organisation (UHO), a group of epidemiologists, doctors, and public health experts, has written to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asking it to desist from academic censorship after the latter questioned the researchers of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for their latest study on the side effects of India’s indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin.

In their open letter to the director of ICMR, the experts cited that the study filled an “important gap in terms of field data analysing the long-term safety of the widely administered Covid vaccine Covaxin.”

“While we were hoping and expecting a research institution of repute such as ICMR to build upon this study, address its shortcomings, and elevate the standards of vaccine safety, we are aghast to come across letters sent by ICMR asking for the retraction of the paper, and threatening the authors of the study,” the UHO said.

It said there are several aspects that are amiss. On the point raised by ICMR that the published study lacks a control group, UHO said that the same point was “admitted in the study itself, in the ‘limitations’ section.”

“No scientific study is without limitations, and the study must be used to further improve vaccine safety studies. To the contrary, calling for its retraction is unbecoming of a scientific institution of ICMR’s stature,” it said.

It has also urged ICMR, which has access to the data with the control group, to publish the long-term follow-up of phase-3 trials.