PER EMERGENCY APPROVAL India approves the world’s first DNA vaccine

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“ZYCOV-D,” is said to be not only easy to use – the DNA vaccine is also safe and well tolerated, according to various studies.

In its fight against the corona crisis, India has become the first country in the world to approve a DNA vaccine. It works similarly to the mRNA vaccines from Biontech/Pfizer or Moderna and could be a real milestone in containing the pandemic. The vaccine from the company Zydus Cadila is expected to ship as early as mid-September.

As dramatic as the consequences of the health crisis are, it is also providing a major boost to medical research. For example, the emergency approval that has now been granted for Covid’s “ZyCoV-D” vaccine represents an absolute world first and is being treated as a real “gamechanger” by the scientists involved.

Genetic material is rapidly degraded
DNA vaccines are not only easier and significantly cheaper to produce than other vaccines, they are also considered very stable and can be quickly adapted in the event of mutations in the pathogen. Another advantage is that the foreign genetic material is broken down relatively quickly by the body and does not remain in the body over the long term.

The idea of such a vaccine is not entirely new: Research has been going on for a long time, and the first approval for veterinary medicine was granted in 2019. However, approval for the use of such a vaccine in humans has been a long time coming – until now.

Studies: Well tolerated and safe
The vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila consists of three doses, all of which are administered without needles. Instead, a special injection system is used that delivers the vaccine to the tissue with the help of a fluid. Clinical studies published in the Lancet journal indicate very good tolerability and high safety. The Indian health authority certifies that the vaccination has an efficacy rate of 66.6 percent – and it is also approved in India for all 12- to 18-year-olds.
The way it works is similar to those mRNA vaccines already in use in Austria. It is a gene-based agent that provides the cells in the body with a genetic “blueprint” to form antibodies against the coronavirus. In the event of an infection, the immune system is then suitably armed and can defend itself against infection.

No change in DNA
However, the buzzword “DNA” triggers unease in many people. However, one important scientific finding in this context makes it clear: DNA vaccines do not alter the genetic material. Although their structure corresponds to human DNA, they are not incorporated into our genetic material – even the numerous applications in animals have so far not found a single indication of such a process.

Other pharmaceutical companies are also already conducting research with this technology. Currently, DNA vaccines against about 20 diseases are being worked on, including influenza, HIV, hepatits B and C or cervical cancer.

  • source: krone.at/picture: pixabay.com
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