CHENNAI: In a shocking incident, the 47-year-old general manager and pharmacist of a Chennai-based herbal products firm died on Thursday minutes after consuming a drug he developed as a cure for COVID-19.
The deceased, Sivanesan, was the general manager of Sujatha Bio-Tech which is well known for products like Nivaran 90, Velvette shampoo and Memory Plus.
“The firm has a factory in Uttarakhand where Sivanesan was working for more than 20 years and later moved to Chennai and worked for the same firm which is situated at Boopathy Nagar, Kodambakkam,” said a police officer.
As the incident happened at the residence of Dr Raj Kumar, the owner of the firm, police are investigating if the doctor was also involved in preparing the drug along with the pharmacist.
“Sivanesan was staying with his family in his native Perundurai in Erode district. A month ago during the lockdown, he sought permission and came to Chennai and stayed with Dr Raj Kumar at his house in Teynampet. The duo were keen on finding a cure for COVID and began preparing a drug. The firm only deals with natural and ayurveda products. This was the first time Sivanesan was trying a new formula with chemicals used in general medicine. Having worked in the field for over 27 years, he was confident in finding a cure. A few staff were assigned to work from Dr Raj Kumar’s house. We would reach the house in the morning and by evening we would leave,” said a staffer who works in the firm.
“On Thursday, Sivanesan first gave the drug which is a solution containing sodium nitrate to Dr Raj Kumar to test. As the doctor consumed only a small portion of the drug, he first fell unconscious and within ten minutes he was fine and conscious. Hoping that everything was fine, Sivanesan also consumed the solution and fell unconscious. We immediately rushed him to the hospital which is situated only 100 metres away. The doctors referred us to another private hospital. However, Sivanesan died on the way to the hospital,” added the staffer.
The doctors declared him as brought dead. The Teynampet police registered a case and further investigations are on. "Only after the post mortem, we will know the exact cause of death and what he consumed," said the police officer.
Sivanesan is survived by his wife and two children.
WATCH: How Chennai's Koyambedu market emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot