Highlights

  • Zycov D likely to be available from October
  • Deemed safe for children above 12 years of age 
  • 3 doses with 28 day intervals recommended

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Meet ZyCoV-D: The world’s first DNA Covid-19 vaccine; everything you need to know about the new vaccine

The shot is “the world’s first and India’s indigenously developed DNA-based vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered in humans including children and adults 12 years and above.”

Zydus Cadila's covid vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to be launched in India in October and is deemed for safe for kids above 12. This 'third-generation triple dose vaccine' could just be the answer to fill the gap of 100 crore doses required by year-end to vaccinate the vast majority of the adult population. Here is everything you need to know about this non-injecting, DNA vaccine which even children above 12 can take.

Meet Cadila’s ZyCoV-D

  • It is the world’s first DNA vaccine to protect against Covid 19. Requires a triple dose for immunity and showcased 67% efficacy in trials. The vaccine is deemed safe for children above the age of 12.

What kind of vaccine is it? How is it different than Covishield and Covaxin?

  • Cadila’s ZyCoV-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine that introduces a DNA sequence encoding the antigen in the body and not a weakened form of the pathogen like Covaxin.

How does a DNA vaccine work?

  • Often referred to as the third-generation vaccines, the dose carries the genetic code of the virus that triggers the build up of immunity in one's body.
  • Zydus stated 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, such as those already occurring”.

Is a DNA vaccine being used anywhere else in the world?

  • No DNA vaccine has been widely used against any disease so far, but they are more stable and easier to store than mRNA shots (tech used by Pfizer & Moderna)
  • According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, over 160 different DNA vaccines are currently being tested in human clinical trials in the United States. It is estimated that 62% of these trials are devoted to cancer vaccines and 33% are applied for vaccines against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

How many doses does one need?

  • Unlike most other Covid-19 vaccines, which require two doses for full immunity, ZyCoV-D is administered in three doses. The vaccine is also needle-free.
  • The doses will be administered 28 days apart

Needle-free vaccine, how does one get the dose?

  • Doses are given using a device that delivers fluid through a spring-powered jet that penetrates the skin, developed by Pharmajet’s Tropis.
  • Zydus Cadila claims this method of delivery is painless and could also reduce side effects from the jab

Is it safe? What are the trial results showing?

  • The vaccine has been tested on almost 30,000 participants across Phase I, II and III studies, and is the first vaccine in India to be tested on 12 to 18-year-olds. Around 1,000 participants were enrolled in the adolescent age group, among whom the vaccine was found to be safe and well-tolerated, with similar findings in the adult population

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