Vaccine trials for kids
On Monday Prime Minister Modi announced that the central government will provide free coronavirus vaccine to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21, and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly.
This announcement comes barely hours after AIIMS New Delhi claimed that the screening of children for trial of Covaxin, India’s first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, among those aged between 2 and 18 has started.
Notably, the trial on children has already started at AIIMS Patna to see if the Bharat Biotech jab is suitable for children. The participants would be given the vaccine after their screening report is available.
The trial is to be conducted on 525 healthy volunteers. In the trial, the vaccine will be given by intramuscular route in two doses at day 0 and day 28.
Interestingly, India’s drug regulator had granted permission for conducting the phase 2/3 clinical trial of Covaxin in the age group 2 to 18 years on May 12. Covaxin, an indigenously developed vaccine is being used on adults in India’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.
The government last week cautioned that even though COVID-19 has not taken a serious shape among children till now, its impact can increase among them if there is a change in virus behaviour or epidemiology dynamics, and said preparations are being strengthened to deal with any such situation.
Importantly, a national expert group has been formed to review COVID-19 infections in children and approach the pandemic in a renewed way to strengthen the nation’s preparedness. The group has examined signs which were not available four-five months before.
The findings were made public after considering available data, clinical profile, the country’s experience, disease dynamics, nature of the virus and the pandemic. Though Pfizer vaccine has been considered for children between the age of 12 and 15 years after being approved by the UK, its arrival in India will also help in covering the children under the vaccine drive.
But what was interesting to note is that China on Sunday authorised the emergency use of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac, for children aged between 3 and 17 years.
Sinovac has finished the Phrase I and II clinical research stage, involving several hundred volunteers in this age group, which has proved that the vaccine is as safe and efficient as it is for adults.
The arrival and use of a vaccine for the children can sure emerge as a hope to strengthen efforts to the fight the covid-19 which has put the entire world on tenterhooks.