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Needle-Free Zydus Vaccine For Kids From September: 8 Facts You Should Know

COVID vaccination for children is expected to start by September with Zydus Cadilla’s Zycov-D vaccine. From age to dosage, here are 8 facts you need to know.

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In an interview with NDTV, Dr NK Arora, who heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, said that vaccination for children in India will start by September with the Zydus vaccine made for 12 to 18 year olds.

Noting that the vaccination for children is key for this age group as the coronavirus pandemic has been a big deterrent in the education of school-going children, Dr Arora added that the emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the Zydus vaccine for kids is expected to come within a few weeks.

This news will come as a relief for worried parents in India who have been fearing the impact of a possible third COVID-19 wave on their children.

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Here are 8 facts that you need to know about the Zydus vaccine for children:

1. ZyCoV-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine that produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus when injected. By doing this, it elicits an immune response that plays a crucial role in protecting the human body from the disease as well as viral clearance.

2. ZyCoV-D is a three-dose vaccine administered over a course of 56 days.

3. ZyCoV-D is administered without the use of needles. It is pushed just 1mm under the skin via needle-free imported injectors — unlike other vaccines that are released 1.5 inch deep into the muscles via needles.

4. The dose of ZyCoV-D is also lower (0.1 ml) compared to other COVID-19 vaccines doses (0.5 ml).

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5. To test the efficacy of its vaccine against SARS Cov2 virus in children, Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadilla has been carrying out clinical trials in over 40 centres involving 1,000 children.

6. As of now, Zydus Cadilla has a production capacity of 15 million doses per month and the company is working to further expand the capacity.

7. As per the company’s statement on the vaccine trials on children, “the tolerability profile was similar to that seen in the adult population. Primary efficacy of 66.6% has been attained for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases in the interim analysis”.

8. As per the company’s statement on the vaccine trials on children, “no moderate case of COVID-19 disease was observed in the vaccine arm post administration of the third dose suggesting 100% efficacy for moderate disease. No severe cases or deaths due to COVID-19 occurred in the vaccine arm after administration of the second dose of the vaccine”.

An EUA approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCA) will make ZyCoV-D the fifth COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in India — the already approved COVID-19 vaccines include those from AstraZeneca – Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Moderna and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

Dr Sharvil Patel, the Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Ltd, said in an interview to Livemint, “This breakthrough marks a key milestone in scientific innovation and advancement in technology. As the world’s first ever plasmid DNA vaccine for human use, ZyCoV-D has proven its safety and efficacy profile in our fight against COVID-19. The vaccine when approved will help not only adults but also adolescents in the 12 to 18 years age group.”

Interesting, few know that Zydus was founded by a former pharma teacher, Ramanbhai Patel, in a rented apartment with a capital investment of Rs 25,000. Read the interesting founding story of the multi-million pharma giant here.

(Edited by Yoshita Rao)

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