India grants emergency approval for world’s first COVID-19 DNA vaccine


Yusuff Moshood

India has granted emergency use approval to the world’s first COVID-19 DNA vaccine.

India’s drug regulator while announcing the emergency use approval for the vaccine named ZyCoV-D revealed that the vaccine has been approved for adults and children aged 12 years and above.

As reported by Reuters, the approval is a boost to India’s vaccination programme, which aims to inoculate all eligible adults by December, and will provide the first shot for those under 18, as the country still struggles to contain the virus spread in some states.

ZyCoV-D, according to the Indian drug regulator, uses a section of genetic material from the virus that gives instructions as either DNA or RNA to make the specific protein that the immune system recognises and responds to.

ZyCoV-D is administered in three doses, unlike most COVID-19 vaccines, which need two doses or even a single dose.

Cadila Healthcare Limited, the generic drugmaker and producer of the vaccine says it aims to make between 100 to 120 million doses of ZyCoV-D annually and has already begun stockpiling the vaccine.

Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology, is the second home-grown vaccine to get emergency authorisation in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

The drugmaker said in July its COVID-19 vaccine was effective against the new coronavirus mutants, especially the Delta variant, and that the shot is administered using a needle-free applicator as opposed to traditional syringes.

The regulatory nod makes ZyCoV-D the sixth vaccine authorised for use in the country where only about 9.18% of the entire population has been fully vaccinated so far, according to Johns Hopkins data

Zydus Cadila had also submitted data evaluating a two-dose regimen for the shot in July and plans to seek regulatory approval for the same, Reuters reported.

The firm had applied for the authorisation of ZyCoV-D on July 1, based on an efficacy rate of 66.6% in a late-stage trial of over 28,000 volunteers nationwide.


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