- COVID vaccine ZyCov-D has been tested among people aged 12 and above
- ZyCov-D is a three dose, needle-free vaccine
- ZyCoV-D needs to be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius
New Delhi: India’s coronavirus vaccination drive began on January 16 this year with two COVID-19 vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. In a little over six months’ time, India has vaccinated 41.54 crore people against COVID-19 and also given emergency use license to two other vaccines – Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V and Moderna’s vaccine. Now, on the way is Zydus Cadila’s needle-free COVID-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, which can be India’s fifth COVID vaccine and second indigenous vaccine. On July 1, Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila applied to the Drug Controller General of India, seeking an emergency use license for its COVID vaccine. Here’s everything you need to know about ZyCoV-D, the world’s first plasmid DNA vaccine.
Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: What is ‘Long COVID’?
What Is COVID-19 Vaccine ZyCoV-D?
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, states the press release issued by the company.
In simple terms, DNA vaccines carry into the body the genetic code for that part of the virus that triggers the immune system in the body. The message is decoded then to produce antibodies. This ensures that when an individual gets the actual virus, the body already knows how to fight it on.
What Differentiates ZyCoV-D?
Instead of using an injection, ZyCoV-D is applied using The PharmaJet needle-free system, Tropis. The technology uses a single-use, sterile, disposable syringe with a reusable injector. A needle-free syringe is filled with the vaccine and loaded to the injector. While administering, the syringe is simply pressed at the injection site. Following this, pressure needs to be applied to the injection site with cotton or gauzed for 60 seconds and then an adhesive bandage is applied, according to PharmaJet’s user guide.
ZyCoV-D is an intradermal injection which means it only goes into the skin, unlike large needles that are given in the muscles. According to the company, the PharmaJet needle-free system can also lead to a significant reduction in any kind of side-effects.
ZyCov-D is a vaccine that uses a genetically engineered version of a type of DNA molecule known as a ‘plasmid’. The plasmid DNA platform provides ease of manufacturing with minimal biosafety requirements (BSL-1) unlike Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin that requires high biosafety level of BSL-3.
The plug and play technology on which the plasmid DNA platform is based is ideally suited for dealing with COVID-19 as it can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus, such as those already occurring, said the company.
How Effective Is The ZyCoV-D?
The interim results of the Phase III of ZyCov-D clinical trials covering 28,000 volunteers, including nearly 1,000 subjects in the age group of 12 to 18 in more than 50 sites across India, has shown 66.6 per cent efficacy.
The tolerability profile was similar to that seen in the adult population. Primary efficacy of 66.6% has been attained 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, said the company.
Once approved, the vaccine will be available to adolescents aged 12 and above as the vaccine has proven to be safe among the said age group as well.
Dosing Regimen And Storage Requirement For ZyCoV-D
ZyCoV-D is a three dose, intradermal vaccine. The three doses are to be administered on day 0, day 28 and day 56. As per the company, ZyCoV-D needs to be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius. But, it has shown good stability at temperatures of 25 degree Celsius 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 to vaccine wastage, stated the company in a press note.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.