Bharat Biotech’s Business Development and International Advocacy Head Dr Raches Ella on Sunday said that the company could begin paediatric trials of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from June.
While participating in the discussion ‘All About Vaccines’, organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), Dr Raches Ella said that the company expected approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Covaxin by the end of the third or fourth quarter.
"I am happy that our hard work is paying off well as the vaccine is working well and saving lives. We have this good feeling when we go back home from work each day. We will be soon ramping up our manufacturing capacity to 700 million doses by the end of this year," informed Dr. Raches Ella as a response to a question from a participant.
"We are happy to have the full support of the government because of which we are able to stand where we are today in this journey. The vaccine is co-developed by us and ICMR. The Government placed an advanced purchase order of Rs 1,500 crores. This will help us to increase our risk appetite. That is why we are expanding to Bangalore and Gujarat," said Dr. Raches Ella.
Dr Ella exuded confidence that vaccines for kids may get the license in the third quarter of this year. "We focused on developing the product last year. Now our focus is on ramping up our manufacturing capacity. Kids vaccine trials of Bharath Biotech may get the license in the third quarter of this year," said Dr Ella.
Ella also said Bharat Biotech will be ramping up the manufacturing capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses by the end of this year.
Speaking on distribution he said right now we are allowed to sell vaccines to the Union Government, the State Governments, and Private Hospitals in the ratio of 70:20 and 10. "If any corporates plan to inoculate their staff, they may collaborate with private hospitals," explained Dr. Raches.
Dr. Raches also said that the company expects approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) for Covaxin by the end of the third or fourth quarter. Since the vaccine is not included in WHO's Emergency Use Listing (EUL), people who have been fully vaccinated by both doses of Covaxin might not be allowed to travel internationally.
Meanwhile, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul on Saturday said that seropositivity rate between 10-17 years is roughly the same as between 30-40 and children can also spread the infection.
"Whenever children contracted the infection then almost always symptoms are minimal, very mild disease or they are asymptomatic and because it is mild the mortality is very very less in them," he said.
Covaxin, India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
(With inputs from Agencies)