Green signal for emergency approval for Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine, for those aged 12 years and above, will take a few more days, confirmed Health Ministry officials on Monday while refuting claims by several State governments, including the Capital, of vaccine shortage.
Senior officials speaking to The Hindu said that Zydus Cadila's vaccine ZyCoV-D had already shown good results in phase-1, phase-2 trials and the phase 3 data (conducted in over 28,000 volunteers) was now under examination by the Subject Expert Committee (SEC). “If all goes well this vaccine’s supply will begin in August-September,” said NITI Aayog (member) Health V.K. Paul recently.
Zydus Cadila's jab is a three-dose (0, 28th day and 56th day), intradermal vaccine which is administered using the PharmaJet needle-free system. It does not need very low storage temperatures and can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius.
The company sought emergency use approval for ZyCoV-D on July 1 and a statement issued by it said that the company had conducted a study during the second wave which re-affirmed the vaccines efficacy against new mutant strains especially Delta variants.
On vaccine supply, the Health Ministry said that more than 38.86 crore (38,86,09,790) vaccine doses had been provided to States/Union Territories so far, through all sources and a further 63,84,230 doses were in the pipeline. “Of this, the total consumption, including wastages, is 37,31,88,834 doses (as per data available at 8 a.m. on Monday),” said the Ministry.
It added that more than 1.54 crore (1,54,20,956) balance and unutilised doses were still available with the States/UTs and private hospitals.
Meanwhile, doctors across the country are now reporting increased cases of Long COVID.
COVID-19 infection and symptoms which continue for 4-12 weeks and beyond the initial illness with a wide range of symptoms affecting all systems, respiratory, cardiac, neurological, muscular and even general fatigue is known as Long COVID. “It seems to affect older persons plus those with comorbidities,” explained Madhu Handa, medical director, Moolchand Hospital.
She added that in some cases, it could seem like a cycle of improvement and then getting worse again.
“We are still learning how long the illness lasts and it can vary in different individuals. There is proven research that it is common for COVID-19 to last for five months or more and there are reports of it lasting 12 months also. It is found that older people, women, and those who had five or more symptoms in the first week of becoming ill with COVID-19 are more likely to develop Long COVID,’’ she said.
Doctors indicate that Long COVID affects around 10% of those aged 18 to 49 who get COVID-19, increasing to 22% in people over 70.
“People with asthma are also more likely to develop Long COVID and Type 2 Diabetes and existing cardiovascular conditions are also a clear link in people who developed Long COVID,’’ said Dr. Handa, adding that treatment was specific to symptoms.