ZyCoV-D: World’s first DNA-based Vaccine

Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila is soon going to apply Central Drugs Regulator (DGCI) for emergency approval of the corona vaccine ZyCoV-D. If approved, it will be the world’s first DNA-based vaccine. With this, the number of vaccines available in the country will increase to 4. So far, Serum Institute’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik-V are being used in India.

Single Dose or Double Dose

All three vaccines currently being administered in India are double dose vaccines. At the same time, there are single-dose vaccines also such as Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik Lite, which may come to India in the coming months. But the Zykov-D vaccine is different from all these. Not one or two but three doses of this Indian vaccine will be applied. During Phase-1 and Phase-2 trials, this vaccine keeps immunity strong for a long time after applying three doses. However, Cadila is also testing two doses of it. Results related to this can also come soon.

Method of Applying Vaccine

ZyCoV-D is a needle free vaccine. It will be fitted with a jet injector. Jet injectors are widely used in USA and some other countries. This allows the vaccine to be injected into people’s skin under high pressure. At the same time, the needle injections that are usually used, fluid or medicine goes into the muscles. Compressed gas or springs are used for pressure in jet injectors.

This device was invented in 1960. WHO gave permission for its use in 2013. Jet injectors have been in widespread use in the US since 2014. Along with this, it is also used in some countries of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Benefits of vaccine with a jet injector

Firstly, it reduces the pain to the person who is getting it, because it does not go inside your muscle like a normal injection.Secondly, the risk of spreading the infection is much less than the needle injection. Companies like Farmjet, Spirit International, Valeritus Holdings, Injex, Enteris Pharma manufacture jet injectors.

Vaccine Application Status

Cadila may apply to DGCI for emergency approval of ZyCoV-D this week. The data analysis of Phase 3 of the vaccine trial is almost ready. The company has informed the government about this. Apart from adults, this vaccine is also being tested on children aged 12 to 18 years. This vaccine is also being tested on people who already have serious diseases.  Zydus Cadila is talking about producing 24 crore doses in a year. The preparation of the company is such that it will come in the market just a few days after getting the approval. The company will produce 2 crore vaccines every month. Along with this, talks are also going on with other manufacturers to increase production. The company will make about one crore doses in the first month. After this the production will be doubled from next month.

Information on Three doses of ZyCoV-D

The second dose of ZyCoV-D will be administered 28 days after the first dose. At the same time, the third dose will be taken 56 days after the first dose. That is, there will be a difference of 4 weeks in each dose. More than 28000 people have been enrolled for the third phase trial of ZyCoV-D. This includes children between the ages of 12 and 18. Cadila has conducted Phase III trials at 20 centers across the country. At each centre, 20-20 children in the age group of 12 to 18 years were also part of the trial. It has been said by the centers involved in the trial that no side effects have been seen on the children of the vaccine. It is expected that soon the country will get the first vaccine for children. It is being said that the company may soon trial the vaccine on children aged 5 to 12 years. If the results of the trial are encouraging, then the scope of vaccination can be expanded further.

How does this vaccine work?

ZyCoV-D is a DNA-plasmid vaccine. This vaccine uses genetic material to increase the immunity of the body. Just as Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines in many countries including the US use mRNA to increase immunity, in the same way it uses plasmid-DNA. mRNA can also be called messenger RNA, which goes into the body and gives the message to make antibodies against the corona virus. Whereas, plasmid is a small DNA molecule present in human cells. This DNA is different from the common chromosome DNA. Plasmid-DNA is commonly found in bacterial cells and can replicate independently.  The plasmid-DNA is converted into a viral protein when it enters the human body. This develops a strong immune response to the virus in the body. This stops the virus from growing. If a virus changes its shape, that is, it has a mutation, then this vaccine can be changed in a few weeks. It is easier to maintain than other vaccines. It can be stored at 2 to 8 degree temperature. Even at 25 degree room temperature, it does not spoil. Because of this, there is no need of cold chain for its maintenance. Even for the new variant of the corona, it can be easily modified compared to the other vaccines.

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