New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the concerns over the third wave of the deadly COVID-19 which is said to pose more danger to the children, indigenous pharm company Bharat Biotech on Thursday started the clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, for children aged between 2 to 18 years of age. According to Bharat Biotech, the paediatric trials began at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bihar's capital Patna.

This comes at a time when the authorities were concerned about the devastating effect of the deadly virus on children and the potential threat to their health during the third wave of the coronavirus which is said to affect the immune system of the children more.

The government on Tuesday had also said that it is focusing more on COVID-19 in children before the third wave of the deadly virus hits the country. The government said that if the SARS-CoV-2 virus changes its nature, the impact of Covid-19 infection on children may increase. However, the government contended that right now the deadly virus has not taken serious shape in children so far.

"Our focus on childhood COVID disease is gaining our attention. The pediatric population is generally asymptomatic. They often get infections but their symptoms are minimal or nill. The infection has not taken serious shape in children. Although children get mild Covid and only 2-3% children may need hospitalisation, we are preparing for it. An expert group has been formed and new guidelines will be released," ITI Aayog Member (Health), Dr VK Paul said.

Indian vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech recieved the approval of the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) on May 11 to conduct phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin on children in the age group of 2 to 18 years. "Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years," Dr VK Paul had said.

India started the world's largest vaccination drive on January 16 this year in a phased manner with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated first. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2. The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 from April 1.

The third phase of the vaccination started on May 1 for the beneficiary aged between 18-44. India has three COVID-19 vaccine - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Serum Institute's Covishield and Russia's Sputnik V. Covaxin and Covishield are being manufactured in India

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan