An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: India’s drug regulator has approved the world’s first DNA vaccine against Covid-19 for emergency use. The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of those vaccinated, according to an interim study quoted by the vaccine maker Cadila Healthcare. The firm plans to make up to 120 million doses of India’s second home-grown vaccine every year. Previous DNA vaccines have worked well in animals but not humans. Cadila Healthcare said it had conducted the largest clinical trial for the vaccine in India so far, involving 28,000 volunteers in more than 50 centers. This is also the first time, the firm claimed, a Covid-19 vaccine had been tested in young people in India — 1,000 people belonging to the 12-18 age group. The jab was found to be “safe and very well tolerated” in this age group.
DNA and RNA are building blocks of life. They are molecules that carry that genetic information which are passed on from parents to children. Like other vaccines, a DNA vaccine, once administered, teaches the body’s immune system to fight the real virus. ZyCoV-D uses plasmids or small rings of DNA, that contain genetic information, to deliver the jab between two layers of the skin. The plasmids carry information to the cells to make the “spike protein,” which the virus uses to latch on and enter human cells.
ZyCov-D is also India’s first needle-free Covid-19 jab. It is administered with a disposable needle-free injector, which uses a narrow stream of the fluid to penetrate the skin and deliver the jab to the proper tissue. Scientists say DNA vaccines are relatively cheap, safe and stable. They can also be stored at higher temperatures — 2 to 8C. Cadila Healthcare claims that their vaccine had shown “good stability” at 25C for at least three months — this would help the vaccine to be transported and stored easily.
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