Zydus Cadila's COVID-19 vaccine approved. What you need to know
Zydus Cadila's three-dose coronavirus vaccine has received the emergency use authorization from India's top drug regulator, becoming the sixth jab to get the nod in the country. It is said to be the world's first DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine and the second Indian-made vaccine for the coronavirus. The company says it can be applied in a needle-free manner. Here's what else you need to know.
How does this vaccine work and who can take it?
ZyCoV-D is a DNA vaccine, meaning that it contains such genetic material that will instruct the human cells to produce coronavirus antigen. It was tested on participants aged 12 and above, and hence can be administered to anyone belonging to that age group. That also makes it the first vaccine in India available to the below-18 age group.
How effective is it?
ZyCoV-D was found safe and effective in a late-stage trial involving more than 28,000 volunteers across India. Zydus had said in a statement its vaccine is 66.6% effective against symptomatic cases of COVID-19 and 100% effective against moderate disease. It also works against the highly-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which drove India's deadly second wave, according to the company.
How many doses of this vaccine are needed?
It is reportedly the first coronavirus vaccine around the world with a three-dose regimen. The second and third doses are required to be given 28 and 56 days after the first, respectively. Further, it can be stored at two to four degree Celsius and does not require cold chains, which will potentially make its transportation to remote areas of the country easier and cheaper.
What about its production and pricing?
Zydus has a relatively limited manufacturing capacity. It plans to produce 10-12 crore doses of ZyCoV-D annually. The government had earlier said the firm could provide around five crore vaccine doses by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the price of the vaccine has not been finalized yet. "We will have a better clarity in two weeks," Dr. Sharvil Patel of the company said.
Vaccine supported by National Biopharma Mission
ZyCoV-D has been supported by the central government's National Biopharma Mission (NBM) under the aegis of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector undertaking.