First mRNA vaccine of India
The HGC019 Vaccine was developed by the Pune based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals. It is the first indigenously produced mRNA vaccine of the country. The phase I and phase II clinical trials of the vaccine was recently approved by Drug Controller General of India. The vaccine uses the same platform as that used by COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. The HGC019 vaccine was developed in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation of the US.
About HGC019 Vaccine
The vaccine does not use the conventional model to produce immune response. Rather it uses molecular instructions to make protein in the body through synthetic RNA.
The vaccine is stable at 2-8 degrees Celsius. The Vaccine is supported with seed grant under the Ind-CEPI mission.
The mission aims to strengthen vaccine development for diseases of epidemic potential. The programme supports development of at least two to three new vaccines during outbreak threats. It provides funding till phase II of the Vaccine testing. It supports capacity building and skill development. It strengthens infrastructure to support needs of the vaccine development.
The mRNA vaccines are considered safe as they are non-integrating in nature, non-infectious and degraded by standard cellular mechanisms. They are synthetic and so not require a host for growth such as eggs, bacteria, etc. They can be manufactured quickly in an inexpensive manner and thus are considered suitable for COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, mRNA vaccines are considered highly efficacious as they have inherent capacity to translate into protein structure inside cell cytoplasm.
The Pfizer vaccine was recently rolled out in United Kingdom. This made UK the first country to roll out COVID-19 vaccine. US and Mexico have approved the use of Pfizer vaccine. The Government of India is unlikely to buy the vaccine due to its cost. The cost of Pfizer vaccine is high as compared to otherCOVID-19 vaccines such as Ozford-AstraZenca and Sputnik V of AstraZenca.