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Anti-Covid vaccine, Johnson & Johnson will be tested on children and young people at the Buzzi in Milan

Volunteers will be children from the year of life onwards. A recruitment campaign that will pass from the parents of the young patients who attend the hospital, from the vaccination centers where hundreds of mothers and fathers with their children come every day. Buzzi is preparing to become one of the centers for testing anti-Covid vaccines on children. Article link

The maxi-immunization plan for now does not involve those in pediatric age, about 10 million people in Italy, of which almost 2 million in Lombardy. After Pfizer, Moderna also recently announced the start of clinical studies on this slice of the population, with the first dose administered a few weeks ago to a Texas boy. A delicate phase – essential to protect in the coming months also those who populate kindergartens and schools, first of all the most fragile – which will also involve Milan for now with another vaccine: “Janssen, a company of the Johnson & Johnson group, has chosen us as center for experimentation on minors “, says Gianvincenzo Zuccotti, director of the pediatric clinic of the Children’s Hospital and dean of the medical faculty of the State University.

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The severe forms of Covid have fortunately spared the vast majority of school-age children. At Buzzi there were about fifty serious cases due to complications of the infection. Relatively low numbers compared to the total, says the pediatrician. “ Article link

The big problem, however, we all know: even those who have no symptoms infect others”. Remember the screening done in Milanese schools, on 15 institutes and 3 thousand pupils. “At the beginning of the school year, the positives were 3 percent. At Christmas it was already 12”. This is to make it clear how the virus moves silently among the little ones, hidden by asymptomatic forms, but reaching those who are most at risk. This is why according to Zuccotti, protecting minors as soon as possible is essential to interrupt the chain of transmission.

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The new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (expected to be approved by the EMA by March) is preparing to start with large-scale tests also for the under 18. And among the centers that will participate in the international study there is the Buzzi. “ Article link

The first step will be to submit to the hospital ethics committee the text for informed consent to be delivered to the families – continues the director of the pediatric clinic – immediately afterwards we will start with the search for volunteers: to all the parents we will have the opportunity to meet, also in vaccination centers, we will propose to be part of the study “.

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For many, when it comes to children, talking about drug testing always makes a decent impression. But the professor of Pediatrics replies: “We are talking about drugs with a high degree of safety, which have already been evaluated on adults and on more limited samples of children with results that give us peace of mind. They are not guinea pigs.” And he adds: “In my experience it is always a great opportunity for those who participate”. Remember the experimentation of the vaccine against meningococcus B, which saw Buzzi at the forefront. And then the Eighties, when one of his first works was following children with HIV. “Ours is one of the international centers for accessing new drugs and the trials have allowed us to give new therapies to children who improved their quality of life much earlier.” Article link

The same argument according to Zuccotti applies to this experimentation, which will involve the age group between 1 and 18 years. With the drug that defends against Covid that will be guaranteed, at the end of the study, also to that part of the sample that will receive the placebo.

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The fear of having difficulty in finding volunteers? There isn’t, he assures. “ Article link

The tests for meningococcus B had had excellent adhesion, what discourages families the most are the studies where a lot of blood samples are taken on small children, this is not”. And he plans to start with the first administrations within two months.

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