The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi will begin screening children for the clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from Monday to test its efficacy on those between two and 18 years of age.
AIIMS Delhi will begin the screening after getting an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India in this regard.
AIIMS Patna, started a similar initiative last week after Covaxin’s manufacturer Bharat Biotech on May 11 received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India to conduct clinical trials on children.
“After these trials, the age group will be 6-12 years and then 2-6 years but now we have started trials in the age group of 12-18 years,” Dr Prabhat Kumar, director of AIIMS, Patna told Hindustan Times.
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So, far 54 children have enrolled for the Patna trials of which 16 were in the age group of 12-18, he said. The volunteers have undergone physical tests as well as RT-PCR tests before the trials.
Last month, Dr VK Paul, senior NITI Ayog member had said that the second and third phase of trials will be conducted on children aged between two and 18.
The trials come ahead of a third wave of the pandemic which is speculated to affect children. The second wave of the pandemic, which hit the country in March was at its height in May, logging more than 4 lakh cases and over 4,000 deaths per day. While cases rose, hospitals across the country faced an acute crunch of medical oxygen with many patients killed due to the lack of it.
The Centre which introduced a vaccination drive to inoculate citizens against COVID has been able to make available three vaccines – India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech, Covishield produced by Serum Institute of India and Russian vaccine Sputnik V.