None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being used for immunisation offer sterilising immunity, which completely prevents infection. Administering a booster dose will surely increase the level of neutralising antibodies but even that does not guarantee full protection from infection. Nearly a year after India rolled out the COVID-19 vaccination programme, administering a ‘precaution dose’, scientifically … Continue reading Booster doses only mitigate disease severity, do not fully prevent infection
Are there clinical trial data to support a homologous vaccine booster?
While data from a homologous booster clinical trial has now become available for Covaxin, there is no supporting data from India for Covishield. Yet, Covishield makes for up to 90% of vaccines administered to adults so far in India. On January 5, five days before the roll-out of the ‘protection dose’, scientifically called a third … Continue reading Are there clinical trial data to support a homologous vaccine booster?
Conflicting signals from drug regulator, COVID-19 national task force
There have been at least three instances where the drug regulator has approved a drug or vaccine but the COVID-19 National Task Force has taken a diametrically opposite stand and not included the drug/vaccine in the national treatment protocol. But the task force was quick to accept the and include the approval given to repurposed … Continue reading Conflicting signals from drug regulator, COVID-19 national task force
Even if mild, Omicron variant can overwhelming health-care settings
The unprecedented speed at which the Omicron variant is spreading in countries that have high levels of testing, the number of people a single infected person can spread the virus to, and doubling time of less than three days are a loud warning that things can go out of control in a short while. India … Continue reading Even if mild, Omicron variant can overwhelming health-care settings
Does Covaxin have WHO’s approval for use in children?
The health ministry's guidelines says Covaxin is the “only vaccine with WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for the age-group 15-18”. This is incorrect. WHO has granted Emergency Use Listing for Covaxin for use in adults 18 years and above only. On December 25, 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that adolescents aged 15-17 years will … Continue reading Does Covaxin have WHO’s approval for use in children?
India widens the vaccine safety net by immunising teenagers above 15 years
Covaxin was found to be safe and immunogenic in teenagers during a phase-2/3 clinical trial; only 175 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years were studied. The data of the trial, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, were posted on a preprint server on December 29. Nearly a year after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for … Continue reading India widens the vaccine safety net by immunising teenagers above 15 years
The basis on which India approves precaution dose remains unclear
On November 22, 2021, Dr. Balram Bhargava said there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19. The priority was on administering the second dose to all adults. No new evidence from India has become available to support an additional dose after Dr. Bhargava's assertion. There … Continue reading The basis on which India approves precaution dose remains unclear
India should prepare for the worst with Omicron
India has been witnessing a surge in cases in many States. There is no reason to believe that the variant will behave differently in India or that Indians have some unknown shield of protection against the virus. The Omicron variant is galloping across the U.S. and many countries in Europe at a pace never seen … Continue reading India should prepare for the worst with Omicron
Two COVID-19 antivirals get FDA nod for emergency use
Paxlovid is not recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver disease, and if given to people with uncontrolled or undiagnosed HIV infection may result in HIV drug resistance. Molnupiravir is not recommended for use during pregnancy as the drug may harm the foetus. If full vaccination with any of the COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduces … Continue reading Two COVID-19 antivirals get FDA nod for emergency use
Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?
Positive samples sent for genome sequencing to confirm for the Omicron variant are almost primarily restricted to international passengers. Not only are the testing rates across India low, most of the RT-PCR test kits used in most States do not have the S-gene target in the primer, which can detect the BA.1 sub-lineage. Also, the … Continue reading Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?