India’s drug regulator on Friday approved Zydus Cadila’s three-dose COVID-19 DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 years and above, bringing in the sixth vaccine authorised for use in the country.
The company said it plans to manufacture 100 million to 120 million doses of ZyCoV-D annually and has started to stockpile the vaccine. The generic drugmaker, listed as Cadila Healthcare Ltd, applied for the authorisation of ZyCoV-D on July 1, based on an efficacy rate of 66.6 per cent in a late-stage trial of over 28,000 volunteers nationwide.
ZyCoV-D is the world’s first plasmid DNA vaccine against the coronavirus. It uses a section of genetic material from the virus that gives instructions as either DNA or RNA to make the specific protein that the immune system recognises and responds to.
Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology, is the second home-grown shot to get emergency authorisation in India after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
The drugmaker said in July its COVID-19 vaccine was effective against the new coronavirus mutants, especially the Delta variant, and that the shot is administered using a needle-free applicator as opposed to traditional syringes.