India’s homegrown Covid vaccine is running into deeper troubles abroad

Bharat Biotech may be in a hotter soup in Brazil.

The Brazilian government’s inquiry into Bharat Biotech, which has developed and manufactures India’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, has intensified over the past two weeks. The Brazilian parliamentary commission looking into the company’s deal to sell vaccines in the Latin American country will now also investigate an alleged payment of $200,000 from Bharat Biotech to the India-Brazil Chamber of Commerce (IBCC), The Wire reported.

These questions have been raised as part of an ongoing investigation against Bharat Biotech and the alleged irregularities in its contract to sell India’s coronavirus vaccines to the country. Though the Brazilian health ministry did not definitively find irregularities in Bharat Biotech’s agreement, it suspended the $324 million contract with the company as a preventative measure on June 29. While suspending the contract, one of Bharat Biotech’s first outside India, the ministry said there were complaints that it felt the company did not address satisfactorily. It also opened up a probe into the contract, as part of a larger investigation into president Jair Bolsonaro’s alleged mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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