Covavax vaccine trial for 12-18 years age group begins in Pune district
The King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital’s research centre at Vadu in Pune district will begin Covid-19 vaccine trials for the age group of 12-18 years from Monday.
The first dose of the Covavax vaccine is to be administered to at least eight minors.
Pending the safety results for this test group, trials of the vaccine for minors, even as young as two-years old will commence.
After KEM, Bharati Vidyapeeth hospital will also begin trials in a month’s time.
Covavax, which is primarily developed by US firm, Novavax Inc, will be mass produced by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) mainly for below-18-year age group. This is the fourth vaccine to be approved for clinical trials in the country and, Pune’s KEM centre at Vadu has also been selected for Phase II and Phase III trials.
Dr Avinash Badvekar, principal investigator at the KEM centre said, “We will be starting phase two trials for safety from Monday, and we would vaccinate 25 in total, but at least eight on the first day. Once the safety trial results are out for this age group then phase II would continue, and then it would proceed to a lower age group of about two years. We had sent out applications for parents who would want their children to participate in the trial.”
He further added that the trial requires children to be healthy and more importantly, without comorbidities. “After written consent from parents and also informed consent of the child, as per ICMR guidelines, the vaccine will be administered,” added Bavdekar.
He also said that the children who have participated in the trial would get a vaccination certificate and those who take a placebo, would be informed to take the vaccine once the government opens up eligibility for their age group.
Along with the KEM centre, Bharati Vidyapeeth hospital will also be a site for the Covavax trial in Pune. “However, trials would begin after a month,” said Dr Jitendra Oswal, deputy medical director at Bharati Vidyapeeth hospital.