India becomes first country to administer DNA-based vaccine

India became the first country to administer DNA-based vaccines against COVID-19. Zydus Cadila’s painless and needleless ZyCoV-D has been launched in Bihar’s Patna.

Civil surgeon Dr Vibha Singh said that three doses of the vaccine will be given at intervals of 28 days and 56 days. “This program has been started at three vaccination centres. It is good for people who are afraid of needles,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Zydus Cadila on Thursday said it is planning to soon roll out its vaccine for the age group between 12 to18.

“We have approval from DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) for children, NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) meeting has also cleared 12-18 (age group),” Sharvil Patel, managing director of Zydus Cadila, said at the company’s earnings call. “Once we start supplies, we will be seeing a launch in that age group as well very soon,” she added.

In early January, the government allowed vaccination for the 15 to 18 years of age group, but it is yet to decide for those aged between 12 and 15. ZyCoV-D was approved for emergency use by DCGI on August 20 for those 12 years and above. The vaccine has to be given in three doses.

The government has placed an order with Cadila to procure one crore doses at Rs 265 per dose, along with a needle-free applicator which is Rs 93 per dose. However, challenges in the ramp-up of production have delayed the launch, The Economic Times reported.

“The government has allocated vaccination centres, as on when the supplies start. We are making sure we have enough second and third doses,” Patel said. “There is whole supply chain planning done. We are rolling out one by one in all of these centres across India”, she added.


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