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Covid vaccines for children could be available by September, Bharat Biotech & NIV say

Bharat Biotech CMD Dr Krishna Ella said final phase of clinical trial is over & they hope to get licence soon. NIV Director Dr Priya Abraham said vaccines may be available by Sept.

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New Delhi: Covid-19 vaccines for children could be available in India by as early as next month, two people closely associated with the Covaxin trials in kids, have said.

In separate interviews, Bharat Biotech CMD Dr Krishna Ella and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune Director Dr Priya Abraham said they are hopeful that Covid vaccines for children will be available soon. They also stressed the importance of vaccinating all adults.

“Our clinical trial final phase is over. We are hoping that by either by month-end or by next month we should get the license for vaccine in children. This is the only vaccine in the world that can be given to children between 2 and 18 years,” Ella said in an interview to DD News Wednesday.

On being asked about the possibility of a booster dose for people who have been inoculated with both doses of Covaxin, Ela said: “It is important to finish adult vaccinations. We also have a nasal vaccine coming up that will stop disease transmission too. That is the main advantage of the nasal vaccine. In the case of injectable vaccines, the problem was people did not get serious disease but (it) kept spreading.”

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin began clinical trials for children in June. The trial data is awaited.

“Presently, Phase 2 and 3 trials of Covaxin are going on for children in the age group of 2-18 years. Hopefully, the results are going to be available very soon. The results will be presented to the regulators. So, by September or just after it, we may have Covid-19 vaccines for children. This apart, Zydus Cadila’s vaccine trial is also going on. This can also be applied for children and will be made available,” Dr Abraham said in an interview with India Science, the OTT channel of the Department of Science & Technology.

Also read: Fatigue, loss of smell, lung issues — new study identifies 55 long-term effects of Covid-19

Zydus will be first DNA vaccine

Dr Abraham also gave an account of the upcoming vaccines that are in various stages of development and may be available in India in the coming months.

“Zydus Cadila’s vaccine will be the first DNA vaccine which will be available for use. Besides, there is Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd’s m-RNA vaccine, Biological-E vaccine, Serum Institute of India’s Novovax and, another interesting one — an intra-nasal vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited. This vaccine does not require a jab and can be delivered through nostrils.”

She also allayed concerns about the Delta Plus variant even as most infections in India both in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are now attributed to it.

“First of all, the Delta Plus variant is less likely to spread than the Delta variant itself. Mainly Delta variant is present in over 130 countries. It has spread all over the world and it is this variant which is highly transmissible. In NIV we have done studies on this variant. We have studied the antibodies produced in the bodies of vaccinated people and checked it against this variant. It has been found that the efficacy of antibodies against this variant has been reduced two to three folds. Yet, the vaccines are still protective against the variants,” she said.

She added that the vaccines may show a little less efficacy, but are important to prevent serious forms of disease due to which patients may get hospitalised and even die. “So, whatever the variant, vaccine is till now protective against all, including the Delta variant. So, there should not be any hesitancy at all.”

Also read: 1.4 lakh deaths, 30 lakh cases — what early Covid vaccinations helped prevent in US


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