Shortly the lift stopped and the doors opened. He scanned the place and saw a long corridor. He tried to see where the CCTV cameras were installed. They were indeed in place as Sanjog had described. He avoided the lights and stuck to the darker areas and quietly moved down the corridor. He could start to smell ether or chloroform all around; perhaps there was a lab here too, he thought. Then the smells became stronger.
As he turned at the corner, he saw something that he could have never anticipated in a thousand years! The corridor was filled with rows and rows of cells just big enough to hold one bed and monitoring equipment each. On most beds lay a man writhing in pain or passed out or screaming to be let out. Some of them showed aggressive behavior and were shackled. It was almost like a prison. He felt nauseous and weak.
Every word that Sanjog had said seemed to be true! There were some deadly secrets here!
He wondered if they were indeed the missing inmates. Was Alok trapped here too? Where would he find him? His head reeled and he held the wall for support.
He gathered himself still feeling weak in the knees, but this was no time to ponder. He used his mobile to click photographs, as many as he could.
Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him!
He found a nursing table nearby and for the moment it looked like a good place to hide. He quickly ran to it and hid under it just in the nick of time. He held his breath as he heard voices nearby. He put his mobile in recording mode.
“How is the subject no 16 responding to TYC1654?” asked a voice.
He thought he had heard that voice before. Who could it be?
“I had given him a dose of 4mg on day 1 and put him on increasing dose. Today is day 6 and when I administered 14 ml, he suffered a heart attack. So 12ml would be the optimum dose. The results are also better at 12 ml because he was beginning to show improvement by day 5” said the other.
“I suggest that you try out 12 ml from day 1 to 5 on 3 more subjects and monitor the results. Have them injected with the strain of staphylococcus 24A and wait for 15 days then start the treatment. If we are successful, try it on a larger group say 20 or 25. I will ask production to give us few more vials of TYC1654. Then we will file for NDI and go ahead with the official trials. Our drug will make us the undisputed number one in the world. We will have a drug more potent than Vancomycin and Rifampin!” the voice announced, quivering with excitement as he spoke the last line..
Abhijeet felt breathless. He wanted to scream.
The inmates were being used for human trials!
These poor people were being treated worse than guinea pigs! They did not deserve to be treated like that!
Any new drug had to be first tried in the lab, in vitro and then on animals like rats, monkeys etc, in vivo. When all results were satisfactory and had passed all toxicology tests, only then permission for human trial is given.
But the trials had to be carried out in controlled conditions and with volunteers only. This took a very long time. There was always a risk that some other company that is doing a similar trial finishes first and gets the patent.
So Life Biotech had been secretly conducting human trials directly without completing the mandatory animal trials. The inmates were the easiest bait; no one would look for them. So whenever they need subjects, they picked up the poor souls from the charitable home as they would do anything for money.
The voices slowly drifted away and when he could hear them no more, he quickly emerged from his hiding and ran to the lift. He didn’t need the access card to go up. He pressed G and was soon out of the building. He had been lucky this time but he wondered if he would be next time.
He sat in his car for a very long time with tears rolling down his cheeks. They had made him accomplice without even letting him know. He had been testing and analyzing samples from not volunteers but from forcefully held people. The samples were from people who were forcefully injected with the bacteria and then treated for the same! It was all so horribly wrong!
read part 6
read part 6