Bharat Biotech, the maker of coronavirus disease vaccine Covaxin, is expected to start paediatric trials from June, the company's Business Development and International Advocacy Head Dr Raches Ella on Sunday.
"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," Dr Ella said during a virtual conversation with members of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), Hyderabad.
Responding to a question from one of the participants, Dr Ella said that Bharat Biotech will be ramping up the manufacturing capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses by the end of this year.
"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 ₹1,500 crore. This will help us to increase our risk appetite. That is why we are expanding to Bangalore and Gujarat," he added.
The young executive of Bharat Biotech 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, on Covid-19 prevalence among children, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul said on Saturday 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.
"Protecting children from infection is equally important so that they do not become part of the transmission chain," he further said.
Indigenously produced Covaxin, along with AstraZeneca's Covishield and recently approved Sputnik V from Russia, is being used in India for inoculating people against Covid-19.
So far, India has administered about 195,004,184 doses of vaccine against coronavirus disease, the most after China and the United States