Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) National Institute of Virology (NIV) has said Covid 19 vaccine for children in India would be available by September.
“Phase II and III 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,” said Director of ICMR-NIV Priya Abraham.
In an interview with India Science, the OTT channel of the Department of Science and Technology on the scientific developments related to COVID-19, she said Zydus Cadila’s vaccine trial was also going on for children.
the interview is available here
With respect to effect of available vaccines on Delta-Plus variant, she mentioned that Delta-plus variant is less likely to spread than the Delta variant itself. “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 efficacy of antibodies against this variant has been reduced two to three folds. Yet, the vaccines are still protective against the variants. They may show a little less efficacy, but vaccines are very important to prevent serious forms of disease due to which patients may get hospitalized 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” she said.
On booster dose, Priya Abraham noted that studies on booster dose have been going on overseas and at least seven different vaccines have been tried out for booster dose.
The WHO has now put a stop to it till more countries catch up with vaccination. This is because there is an alarming vaccine gap between high-income and low-income countries. “But, in future, recommendations for boosters will definitely come,” she added.
MIX OF VACCINE
On questions related to mix and match of vaccines, the Director said that they tested vaccine samples at NIV and found that the patients who received different vaccines in two doses were safe. “No adverse effect was noted and immunogenicity was a little better. So, it is definitely not something which will cause a safety issue. We are studying this phenomenon and will be able to give more details in a few days’ time,” she said.
The director also opined that testing methods such as ICMR developed RT-LAMP Test will become more popular in the future as they have the advantage of using in technologically not so advanced places.
Priya Abraham also warned to be cautious in the coming festival season.