BENGALURU: Indian vaccine maker Biological E. Ltd said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine received an emergency use approval in the country for use in children aged 12 to 18.

The company's shot, called Corbevax, is the third vaccine approved for use in children aged 12 and above in India, joining Zydus Cadila's CADI.NS DNA shot ZyCoV-D and homegrown player Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

"This will further strengthen our fight against #COVID19," India's health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet late on Monday.

India has so far only started vaccinating children aged 15 and above. According to government figures, more than 76 million children between 15 and 17 have been inoculated mainly using Covaxin.

The emergency use approval for restricted use in the 12-18 age group for Corbevax is based on interim results of an ongoing mid- to late-stage clinical study, Biological E. said in an emailed statement.

Corbevax in late December was given emergency use approval for use in adults, but it has yet to be included in the national immunisation program. 

Nearly 1.76 billion vaccine doses have been used in India's vaccination programme so far, of which about 84% has been a domestic version of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot produced by the Serum Institute of India.

India's third wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron coronavirus variant has largely receded, with the country reporting 16,051 infections on Monday compared to more than 300,000 in late January.


(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Tomasz Janowski) ((; +91 99863 58469))