COVID-19: India to soon roll out world’s first DNA vaccine

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India will soon begin administration of the world’s first DNA vaccine against COVID-19. 

“Administration of nasal vaccine and world’s first DNA vaccine against COVID will soon start in India,” the prime minister said addressing the nation on December 25. 

ZyCoV-D is the first DNA plasmid COVID-19 vaccine in the world for human use, developed indigenously by Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila. 

It is the first COVID-19 vaccine that received a nod from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for emergency use on those below 18 years. The DNA vaccine can be administered to those aged 12 years and above. 

The Phase-III clinical trials were conducted on over 28,000 volunteers in more than 50 clinical sites across the country during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19. 

Interim results from Phase-III clinical trials showed primary efficacy of 66.6 percent for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases, the company had said earlier. 

Called plasmid DNA, the vaccine consists of genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, which instruct human cells to make the SARS-CoV2 antigen, eliciting an immune response. 

ZyCov-D is a needle-free three-dose vaccine. The three doses of the jab are to be administered 28 days apart. 

Instead of traditional syringes, the vaccine will be administered using an applicator called PharmaJet. 

The PharmaJet is a needle-free applicator to ensure painless intradermal (between the layers of the skin) vaccine delivery which also leads to a significant reduction in any kind of major side effects. 

The firm said that ZyCov-D has shown good stability at temperatures of around 25 degrees for  

at least three months. 

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