Serum to begin Covovax trials on children in July
The Serum Institute of India (SII) will soon apply for regulatory approval to conduct clinical trials of Covovax on children in India. Covovax is the Indian version of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the US-based firm Novavax. Phase-3 trials for Covovax had begun on June 18, reported The Indian Express, and Serum has already started manufacturing the first batch of the vaccine in Pune.
'Vaccine has great potential to protect future generations'
"Excited to witness the first batch of Covovax (developed by @Novavax) being manufactured this week at our facility in Pune," Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted on Friday. "The vaccine has great potential to protect our future generations below the age of 18. Trials are ongoing. Well done team @seruminstindia!" he added in the tweet.
Trials will be done on 920 children
SII plans to test Covovax on 920 children - 460 each in the 12-17 and the 2-11 age groups - starting next month, according to a report by The Times of India. The trials will be carried out at 10 sites across India, Poonawalla told the newspaper. Enrolment of children in the 12-17 age group will be done first, the report added.
Serum to launch jab for children by year-end
Serum Institute will submit the interim trial data on safety and immunogenicity after three months of the advanced clinical trial, reported TOI. The firm is looking to launch the vaccine for children by the end of this year. Healthy volunteers participating in the trials will be given two doses of Covovax, 21 days apart.
Covovax is over 90% effective, firm said
Covovax has been developed by Novavax, a firm based in Maryland, United States. Earlier this month, the firm said its coronavirus vaccine had been found safe and over 90% effective. It cited results from a phase-three clinical trial of nearly 30,000 participants, conducted across the US and Mexico. SII has said it would launch the vaccine for adults in India by September.
India has 3 vaccines for adults, none for children
Presently, India has three approved vaccines for adults - Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield (also manufactured by the Serum Institute), the indigenously-developed COVAXIN, and Russia's Sputnik V. There is no approved vaccine for children as yet. Two firms, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila are testing their COVID-19 vaccines on children. Dr. Randeep Guleria of AIIMS-Delhi had recently stated that COVAXIN could be available for children by September.
18% of Indian population has been partially vaccinated
India has administered more than 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far. Even though 18% of the total population has received at least one shot, only about 4% have been fully inoculated. However, the country's vaccination efforts have gained pace since the central government launched a new policy on June 21. India aims to vaccinate over one billion by the end of 2021.