Studies to define anti-Covid vaccines and dosages aimed at children and adolescents are underway. The difficulties of research
The child is not a small adult. This phrase is often called into question when it comes to drugs, which, even if registered in adults, cannot be immediately transported for use even in the pediatric population. The child's organism is different, it is subjected to growth stages, it even has pathologies which, although also present in adults, assume different characteristics in the first years of life. Also for this reason, as well as for ethical reasons, it is always necessary to have specific data collected in children available when you want to give the "green light" to a new treatment or a vaccine.
Obviously, vaccines for Covid-19 do not escape this rule, so much so that at the moment there are not yet any authorized for use in children. Only one of those available can be administered from 16 years, others from 18. In short, it takes patience. And above all, studies are needed to be sure of the efficacy, and even more so of safety, of vaccines that must be administered to healthy babies to protect them from infection caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
The difficulties of research
On the one hand, there is an important goal, in terms of public health. It is the achievement of the so-called herd immunity, or the possibility that, thanks to vaccination, the virus can no longer circulate. It is known that without also involving children and young people, who also often have a disease with very mild symptoms or perhaps contract the virus, this goal cannot be achieved.
To say this, among others, are also the observations on what is happening in countries that are at the forefront of vaccination rates in the adult population. Cases have dropped a lot, but it is not possible to drop beyond a certain level and according to an analysis published in Nature there is precisely the current impossibility of protecting adolescents and children with immunization among the causes of the remote anchor " elimination "of the virus, although obviously when sars-CoV-2 circulates less even for children there will be fewer opportunities to" meet "it. In any case, several pharmaceutical companies are about to launch targeted studies on the pediatric population.
For example, Pfizer intends to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the messenger RNA vaccine on children aged five and over, according to reports. Clinical trials would be starting while the enrollment phase for the adolescent population is already completed. Likewise, Moderna is also considering lowering, with "tailor-made" clinical studies, the age of enrollment of the subjects in which to evaluate the vaccine.
Don't be in a hurry
If it is true that the child should not be considered a small adult, it is equally undeniable that therefore today it is not possible to think of including children in the current vaccination program. Targeted studies are needed, also because the developing immune system, which must react to the stimulus determined by the antigens of the coronavirus capable of stimulating the defensive response by the organism that must be maintained over time, is not yet perfectly formed in the little ones.
For this, therefore, it is necessary to study the dosages of targeted vaccines, especially for those of preschool age. It should also be said that the characteristics of the infection and the clinical picture it determines are not such as to impose a particular haste in the logic of having a vaccine available in pediatric age. Severe cases occur above all in the most advanced ages and it is therefore the adult-elderly people who should be protected primarily. At the moment, children must therefore be protected with the rules that we all observe. Looking forward to a vaccine in the near future that is truly "dedicated" to them.
Tag: Children Coronavirus Vaccines