All You Need To Know About Zydus’ Covid Vaccine ZyCoV-D
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India’s first Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D is in the fray seeking a nod for Emergency Use Authorization from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Vaccine maker Zydus Cadila that already has anti-Covid treatments available in the market claimed to have conducted the largest clinical trial in India so far at over 50 centers and the participants included people between age group 12 and 18 years.

How is it different from other vaccines?

~ ZyCoV-D is a three-dose vaccine:

Unlike Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Serum Institute of India-manufactured Covishield jabs. However, the company said it has also evaluated a two-dose regimen for ZyCoV-D vaccine using a 3 milligram dose per visit and the immunogenicity results had been found to be equivalent to the current three-dose regimen.

~ ZyCoV-D is touted to be a 'needle-free' vaccine:

It is an intradermal vaccine, which is applied using The PharmaJet needle free system. Needle-free injectors deliver the vaccine using a narrow stream of fluid to penetrate the skin, and deliver vaccine to the proper tissue depth. The company says this methodology can eliminate chances of needlestick injury and will also lead to a significant reduction in any kind of side effects. It will also help people suffering from trypanophobia.

~ ZyCoV-D is not very sensitive to temperature:

The prescribed storage temperature is between 2 to 8 degrees centigrade, but has shown good stability at temperatures of 25 degrees centigrade as well for at least three months. The thermostability of the vaccine will help in easy transportation and storage of the vaccine and reduce any cold chain breakdown challenges leading vaccine wastage.

Who will benefit?

Dr Sharvil Patel, managing director, Cadila Healthcare, said the vaccine when approved will help not only adults but also adolescents in the 12 to 18 years age group.

~ The science behind the jab: How does it work?
ZyCoV-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine which when injected produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.

In simpler words, it means that the vaccine is manufactured by creating a close enough copy of the virus' DNA sequence so that no harm or disease is caused, but the immune system response is triggered when the body encounters the real virus the next time.

~ Interim efficacy results

The vaccine has shown a primary efficacy of 66.6 percent for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases in the interim analysis. Whereas, no moderate case of COVID-19 disease was observed in the vaccine arm post administration of the third dose suggesting 100% efficacy for moderate disease. No severe cases or deaths due to COVID-19 occurred in the vaccine arm after administration of the second dose of the vaccine.

The vaccine manufacturers also claimed that the vaccine's efficacy data was collected through India's largest clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine so far. A study carried out in more than 50 clinical sites spread across the country and during the peak of second wave of COVID-19 reaffirming the vaccine's efficacy against the new mutant strains especially the delta variant, Cadila Healthcare managing director Dr Patel said.

He also emphasised that the plasmid DNA platform is ideally suited for dealing with COVID-19 as it can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus. Moreover, the DNA vaccines offer a number of potential advantages over traditional approaches that include stimulation of both B and T cell responses, improving the vaccine stability, says WHO.

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