Bharat Biotech chief recommends booster dose 6 months after second jabtext_fields
New Delhi: A booster dose would be ideal at six months after receiving the second dose of the anti-Covid vaccine, Hyderabad-based pharma major Bharat Biotech founder and Managing Director Dr Krishna Ella on Wednesday, adding a final decision was up to the government.
In a Q&A session at the Times Now Summit 2021, Ella also indicated that the nasal Covid vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech could be taken in lieu of the second dose of Covaxin or to protect previously infected persons.
The nasal vaccine was more effective in preventing infection as compared to an injectable vaccine which does not reach the upper lungs and could eliminate the need for a vaccinated individual to continue wearing the mask, he said.
He added that the Phase 2 trials of the nasal vaccines are done and data was being analysed. "We should expect it in 3-4 months," he said, adding that Bharat Biotech was also talking to the government about using the Cowin platform for doing clinical trials.
On bringing a vaccine for children, Ella said Bharat Biotech was the only company in the world to have done clinical trials among those between 2 and 18 years of age.
"Safety and immunogenicity are well established in this population right now. We have submitted the data to the data controller but WHO, unless the national regulatory authority approves it, will not approve," he said.
Ella also opened up about the hurdles faced in Covaxin's WHO approval.
"When the PM took the vaccine it was called a BJP vaccine. People's negative projections of Covaxin hurt the product. Politicians should take up different battles, not on the front of science," Ella said.
Noting that he was happy India was the fourth country worldwide to manufacture a Covid vaccine, Ella said, "Negative perceptions about Covaxin delayed approvals and publication. But I am happy we finally won the game. Negativity also put WHO in an awkward position. WHO wanted to review Covaxin much more extensively. Covaxin was the only shot to go through so much WHO scrutiny."
Ella said although a million pregnant Indian women had received Covaxin and its safety among them is proven, the WHO had sought results of Covaxin safety among pregnant women in a clinical trial mode. The WHO is yet to approve Covaxin for pregnant women.