COVID-19 Vaccines and Road Ahead (E)

It’s been more than one year and six months since the COVID-19 Pandemic struck – the ferocity of the COVID-19 virus has caused nearly 40 lakh deaths, and over 17 Crore recorded cases globally - numbers which continue to increase each day. The challenges confronting nations across the world are unprecedented and dire as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and mutate. In this episode of Science for a Self-Reliant India we delve into the history of vaccinations to fight diseases, we look at how the civil society’s and Indian government attention is moving toward vaccinating children - those under 18 years of age, how clinical trials in children are different from those of adults. Also in this episode, we look at intellectual property rights and patents for COVID-19 vaccinations, medicines and related equipment and why India is advocating for a general waiver on these patents in major international forums. As the National COVID Vaccination Programme in India gathers momentum for all adults above the age of 18, civil society and the governments focus is increasingly turning to children up to 18 years of age – in fact, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin children trials have already started in AIIMS Patna and likely to in AIIMS Delhi. In the episode, we look at how clinical trials on children are conducted to test the efficacy and safety of the vaccines and how they follow a slightly different set of operational procedures and ethical guidelines. We also speak exclusively to Dr. N K Arora, Chairman of India’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 on the government’s plan for vaccinating children. We also look delve into the important issue of intellectual property rights when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. And understand why India has taken the lead in advocating for a general waiver on patents and other barriers on diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for COVID-19 for the duration of the pandemic in international forums like the World Health Organisation. This and a lot more in this episode of Science for a Self-Reliant India only on India Science.

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