Cadila Healthcare, located in Ahmedabad, has created the world’s first authorised DNA vaccination for Covid-19. According to a senior corporate executive, the company is testing a multi-variant Covid-19 vaccination on animals. “We have completed our development for almost eight strains of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. We are now doing animal studies to see which of these constructs work the best to neutralise more mutations of Sars-CoV-2. It can be a vaccine construct using one strain or may be two strains,” said Sharvil Patel, MD, Zydus Cadila.
When Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D DNA vaccine is given, it causes the Sars-Co virus to produce spike protein. Unlike mRNA vaccines, it can withstand temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius as well as 25 degrees Celsius for up to three months. The DNA-plasmid platform is quite simple to tweak and takes less time. “The efficacy of our Covid-19 vaccine is over 66%, and its efficacy against the Delta variant is about 66%,” added Patel. ZyCoV-D is a three-dose vaccine given on day zero, day 28 and then on day 56. This vaccine is approved for adults and adolescents above the age of 12, he said.
Government bodies, such as the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), are enthused by the possibilities presented by the “plug-and-play” technology on which the plasmid DNA platform is based, since it can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus, as we are seeing happen over the last few months. This makes it reasonably future-proof, resilient, and adaptive.
Vaxiflu-4, India’s first tetravalent influenza vaccine, was created by Zydus and protects against four influenza viruses: H1N1, H3N2, Type B (Brisbane) and Type A (Phuket) are all covered by the vaccination. Scientists believe that combining various strains to create a multi-variant vaccination could improve immunity.