New Delhi:
Bharat Biotech is set to begin the phase II and III clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in children in the age group of 2 to 18 years in the next 10-12 days, informed VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog on Tuesday.

"Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years. I have been told that trials will begin in the next 10-12 days," Paul said during a press conference.

Covaxin received the DCGI nod to conduct clinical trials in children on May 11.

The Niti Ayog official further stated that the anti-COVID drug '2DG' developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been granted permission for emergency use by the DCGI. He also mentioned that the anti-COVID drug will be examined by the COVID-19 National Task Force for adding it to the treatment protocol.

"We will examine the drug in COVID-19 National Task Force for adding it to the treatment protocol. DCGI has granted permission for emergency use," said Paul. Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated that the new COVID variant detected in Singapore is "deadly for children" and may bring in third wave of the disease in the country, Paul reassured that children will not get serious COVID-19 infection, adding that the situation is being closely monitored and reports referring to the variant are being examined.

"We are examining the report you are referring to about a particular variant. Regarding COVID-19 among children, it is being reassured that they do not get serious infection. We are keeping an eye on this," he said.

Amid concerns of a third wave of COVID-19 in the country, which according to many health experts is likely to target children, the Delhi Chief Minister requested the Central government to immediately suspend air services with Singapore and to work out vaccination options for children on priority.