The ten SEC members who approved the COVID-19 vaccine for restricted emergency use do not have disciplines connected to vaccine and clinical research.
SEC members' identity remained confidential until recently disclosed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in response to a question posed by Congress MP Syed Nasir Hussain in the Rajya Sabha.
The ministry released the names of ten members in the SEC who are experts in different areas like Microbiology, Pulmonary Medicine, Paediatrics, Transplant Immunology, and Pharmacology; interestingly, none of the members specialized in virology or molecular biology.
The Economic Times reported former health secretary Sujatha Rao, saying that the committee is Delhi-centric and dominated by disciplines not connected to vaccines and clinical research. She added that such important committees should be multidisciplinary like the U.S comprising of virologists, persons with a background in cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, public health, and clinical research experience. The report further quotes, Health lawyer Murali Neelakantan, stating that the government should compose a committee similar to the U.S that included the experts from all the necessary fields.
Subsequently, the expertise of the SEC members, as published by the government in its reply, shows that it did not have experts from virology or molecular biology.
The committee's credibility was questioned when Covaxin was initailly approved for restricted emergency use without the phase 3 result for efficacy was published.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.