ZyCov-D Vaccine (Omicron December, 2021 Updated)

After successful trial another covid 19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D vaccine got approval in August, 2021 for use above 12 years of age. Made by Indian Company Zydus Cadila, this Zycov-D covid 19 vaccine is the world’s first DNA vaccine and till date the only DNA vaccine available.

ZyCoV-D Vaccine, the only DNA vaccine of covid 19 is now available in Indian market to use. Zycov-D vaccine is made by the Gujarat based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, with the help of the Indian Government’s National Biopharma Mission as part of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, Department of Biotechnology.

ZyCoV-D Vaccine is given through Needle free technique. It is a Plasmid DNA Covid vaccine to fight against coronavirus infection.  This vaccine carries the genetic code for the part of the virus that triggers the immune system of the body.

How does ZyCoV-D works :

A DNA vaccine will carry into the body the genetic code for the part of the virus that will trigger our body’s immune system. As a result, our immune system will be prepared to fight with corona infection.

So it ensures that later when actual infection occurs, that is when SARS COV- 2 enters the body, our immune system is already prepared to recognize it and can fight the infection with the most effective way the immunity system is already prepared.

ZyCoV- D vaccine uses a DNA fragment that is capable of surviving outside the nucleus of the cell. This DNA plasmid vector carries the gene that encodes the spike protein (S) of the coronavirus, which is medically known as the SARS COV-2 virus.

This S Protein of the coronavirus includes the receptor-binding domain (RBD) that is responsible for binding the coronavirus to the human cell through angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE-2) receptor within our body.

So this ZyCoV- D vaccine prevents the coronavirus from entering cells by targeting the main viral membrane protein. Sounds Difficult? Lets make it simple..

ZyCov-D efficacy :

ZyCoV- D is the only available DNA covid 19 vaccine in the world. As the available data suggests DNA vaccines are safest to use for various diseases. Also, DNA vaccines are much more effective compared to RNA vaccines.

So like all other DNA vaccines ZyCoV-D covid vaccine is also much more effective than all the other available vaccines including Covishield, Astrazeneca, Covaxin, Sputin V, Pfizer Biontech, Moderna, Johnson-and-Johnson-covid-vaccine.

Research shows that this ZyCoV-D vaccine efficacy is 66.6% after 3 dose completion. The best part is this effectiveness is for the RT-PCR positive cases, in simple words in the people with weak immunity.

For completely fit people or moderate covid 19 cases,  this ZyCoV-D efficacy is 100%. With time, more details and data will come out. But in general DNA vaccines are always more effective and protective for humans.

Moreover, DNA vaccines have a potential advantage that it stimulates both B and T cell response that improves vaccine stability.

Data suggesting that zycov-d  vaccine is effective against the Delta Variant. Certainly upcoming time will provide more data on effectiveness of ZyCoV-D in Delta and Delta Plus variants of Covid 19.

ZyCov-D Efficacy Against Omicron :

Historically it is found that DNA vaccines are mostly very successful. It is seen that DNA vaccines are more responsive against the viruses, so it is said that it will work at its best against Omicron Variant.

As Omicron is also the spike protein mutant of covid 19, thus both ZyCov-D and Covaxin is the safest option against covid 19 without a booster. This is an ideal vaccine specially for people who are unable to take other RNA vaccines due to medical restrictions due to poor immunity.

As initially all the available vaccines were of RNA, once who took RNA vaccines are not eligible to take DNA vaccine further. So ZyCov-D will not be applied as booster. For those who are taking this DNA vaccines can expect no repeat costs of re-vaccination or booster dose.

ZyCoV-D vaccine update :

On 23rd April 2021, vaccine production is started. The ZyCoV-D vaccine has got the approval from the government of India for emergency use in 21st August, 2021. Yes, we can expect the ZyCoV-D vaccine within next two to three weeks.

ZyCoV-D vaccine trials :

The trial was made on 1000 participants of 12-18 years old in India. After this successful trial, ZyCoV-D covid vaccine got approval for emergency use of anyone above 12 years old. Yes, 12 years old children are also safe to take ZyCoV-D vaccine.

This vaccine is already found to be capable to produce the immunity within body (immunogenic) in multiple animal species like mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits.

Study shows, in preclinical trial phase antibodies produced within animals are able to neutralize the wild type virus completely.

Preclinical toxicity studies found that the vaccine is well-tolerated, safe and immunogenic (able to produce the immunity).

ZyCoV –D vaccine,  the DNA vaccine of India is made by a special technique commonly used in genetic engineering. The technique uses extra chromosomal DNA of bacteria (plasmid) that carries some portion of coronavirus gene. Thus this vaccine is very safe to use. Also, with no vector response and absence of any infectious agent, the vaccine manufactured with minimal biosafety requirements (BSL-1).

Zydus Cadila has taken 30,000 healthy adult volunteers for their phase three trial.

The Adaptive Phase 1/ 2 study of ZyCoV -D was conducted on more than 1000 healthy adult volunteers. The vaccine was found to be well-tolerated, safe and immunogenic.

This vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trial indicates that it is active against many covid virus variants (mutations).

ZyCoV-D vaccine dose and vaccination process :

ZyCoV-D will be India’s second indigenous vaccine after Bharat Biotech‘s Covaxin. ZyCoV –D,  a three-dose vaccine, will have to take on day 0 (first dose), day 28 (second dose) and day 56 (final dose).

The best part is this vaccine is given through the skin (intradermally) but without a needle! The technique is a needle-free injection system (NFIS). So no injection related side effects.

The company is trying to develop a two-dose regimen of the vaccine. For two dose regimen vaccine, each dose will be 3 mg. Research proved, for long time storage, this ZyCoV- D vaccine needs 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature. But for short time use, it can be stored even at 25 degrees Celsius temperature.

Zydus Cadila Vaccine:

This is not the first vaccine from Zydus Cadia. Zydus Cadila was the first company in India who developed the Swine Flu vaccine in the year 2010. Also, it developed tetravalent seasonal influenza vaccine, inactivated rabies vaccine, Varicella vaccine, Typhoid conjugate vaccine etc.

Is ZyCoV-D vaccine safe to use?

ZyCoV-D is the first DNA Covid 19 vaccine of the world that got approval. So this is going to solve the pandemic crisis to some extent. Historically, DNA vaccines have proven to be way better. The trial data of zycov-d showing some hope with a minimum 66.6 % efficacy. Most delightful news is most of the cases the efficacy is 100% and childrens are safe to get this covid vaccine as per trial reports to date. Certainly, with the threatening of third Wave of Covid 19, its effectivity against delta variants of coronavirus is promising.

Takeaway :

ZyCoV-D vaccine is world’s first DNA covid vaccine, got approval for emergency use in 21st August, 2021. During Phase 3 trial, it is found to be effective against various variants (mutations) of coronavirus. It is a three-dose regimen vaccine. The vaccine needs to be administered through skin, even without using needle. The trial reports approved that it is safe to use for children ages above 12 years. After the successful trial, ZyCoV-D covid vaccine is the world’s first Plasmid DNA covid vaccine.

Sources :

  1. Indian Government Press Release of Approval of ZyCoV-D Covid Vaccine
  2. Department of Biotechnology MINISTRY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, Government of India
  3. Zydus Cadila Official Website
  4. ScienceDirect Article
  5. US National Library Of Medicine

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