World's first DNA Covid vaccine from India: Cost, features, other details

World's first DNA Covid vaccine from India: Cost, features, other details

At least a dozen DNA vaccines against COVID-19 are currently in clinical trials around the world

As the Omicron variant has rapidly reached nearly every corner of the Earth, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, announced that the nasal vaccination and the world's first DNA vaccine against COVID-19 will be available for inoculation soon.

"Nasal vaccine and the world's first DNA vaccine against COVID-19 will soon commence in India," Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in a speech to the country.

PM Modi also reassured Indians that the world's first DNA vaccine against COVID-19 is still being studied and produced.

The Indian government approved emergency use authorisation for Zydus Cadila's DNA vaccine earlier this year, citing initial results from Phase III clinical trials that showed approximately 66 percent efficacy for symptomatic cases.

The world's first DNA vaccine against the COVID-19

The ZyCoV-D – the world's first plasmid DNA vaccine – was produced by Ahmedabad-based vaccine manufacturer Zydus Cadila and got Emergency Use Approval (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India in August earlier this year.

The DCGI has given its permission for the vaccination to be given to children aged 12 to 17.

What is a DNA-based vaccine, and how does it work?

In its most basic form, DNA stores the memories of all biological activities, without exception. It also contains hereditary or genetic information about how the body should react in the event of infection.

The DNA-based vaccinations operate by transferring a genetically modified blueprint of viral genes into small DNA molecules for injection into persons being vaccinated, according to the Milken Institute in the United States.

The ZyCoV-D was created by inserting a fragment of virus DNA into the human body, which, once inside, causes the virus to manufacture a crucial component that the immune system can recognise and so encounter.

World's first DNA Covid vaccine from India: Cost, features, other details
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Painless vaccine delivery

Instead of using regular syringes, the world's first DNA vaccination will be administered using a needle-free applicator called "PharmaJet." The use of a needle-free applicator enables pain-free intradermal vaccine delivery, as well as a significant reduction in any major side effects.

Efficacy rate of the DNA vaccine

In clinical trials, the vaccination was proven to be 67 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19.

It demonstrates that DNA vaccinations work and can aid in the control of the pandemic.

At least a dozen DNA vaccines against COVID-19 are currently in clinical trials around the world, with at least as many more in the early phases of development. Vaccines based on DNA are also being developed for a variety of other disorders.

Safety

ZyCoV-D was found to be safe, well tolerated and immunogenic in the Adaptive Phase I/II clinical trials.

According to a statement by India's Ministry of Science & Technology, this vaccine had already exhibited robust immunogenicity and tolerability and safety profile in the adaptive Phase I/II clinical trials carried out earlier.

Both the Phase I/II and Phase III clinical trials have been monitored by an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

Price

Zydus Cadila has obtained an order from the Government of India to supply one crore doses of ZyCoV-D at a cost of $3.53 each dose, with the needle-free applicator costing $1.24 per dose, excluding GST.

According to the price breakdown, the Centre will be able to purchase a single dose of the vaccine for $5, which includes the cost of the jet applicator and GST, bringing the total cost of the 3-dose shot to $15.

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