What is ZyCov-D, world’s first DNA vaccine for Covid?

If approved, it will be the fifth vaccine against coronavirus to be approved in India, after Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V and the Moderna shot.
Zycov-D was tested in a three-dose regimen, with the second and third given 21 and 56 days after the first. But the company said it has also evaluated a two-dose regimen and found similar results, hinting at plans to make it a two-dose regimen.(File Photo)
Zycov-D was tested in a three-dose regimen, with the second and third given 21 and 56 days after the first. But the company said it has also evaluated a two-dose regimen and found similar results, hinting at plans to make it a two-dose regimen.(File Photo)
Updated on Jul 02, 2021 12:48 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila on Thursday said it has applied for emergency use authorisation (EUA) with the Indian drug regulator for its two- or three-shot Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, and plans to manufacture 100-120 million doses annually.

If approved, it will be the fifth vaccine against coronavirus to be approved in India, after Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V and the Moderna shot. Here’s more about the jab.

What is it called?Zycov-D

How does it work?It is a plasmid DNA vaccine. A plasmid, a small circular piece of DNA, is used to instruct cells for to make the spike protein of the Sars-Cov-2. This helps teach the body to recognise a crucial part of the virus, to which it can then build defences. The shot is administered intradermally, which resembles a pinprick.

How many doses is it given as?The vaccine was tested in a three-dose regimen, with the second and third given 21 and 56 days after the first. But the company said it has also evaluated a two-dose regimen and found similar results, hinting at plans to make it a two-dose regimen.

How has it performed?The company said efficacy of its clinical trials in over 28,000 people came to 66.6%. However, the company has not disclosed its early phase trial data. Zydus said its study coincided with the peak of the second wave of infections and affirmed efficacy against variants such as Delta.

The company added that the trial also included 1,000 adolescent volunteers in the 12-18 age group.

How does it compare to others?The DNA plasmid vaccine works in a manner similar to the mRNA vaccine, in which the body is instructed to code for the antigen (the spike protein, in this case). The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (or Covishield) and Sputnik V deliver similar codes via viral vectors. Novavax’s vaccine delivers the proteins itself, while Covaxin uses an inactivated virus as an antigen.

When can we expect it?Zydus Cadila managing director Sharvil Patel said the company hoped to be producing 10 million doses a month by mid-August. The roll-out will depend on the approval process.

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Monday, November 29, 2021