Considering the burden on healthcare and the expense of buying three doses, Zydus Cadila is planning to seek approval for the two dose regimen of its needle-free COVID-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, days after the vaccine was approved by India’s drugs regulator for emergency use in India on August 20.
The trials for the two-dose regimen are underway. 2mg of the vaccine has been prescribed in each dose of the present-day three-dose vaccine i.e. total of 6 mg. The company is now evaluating a 2 dose regime with 3mg in each dose.
The vaccine is said to be path-breaking as it is for the first time that a technologically advanced vaccine has been successfully developed on the Plasmid DNA platform for human use.
A plasmid DNA vaccine uses non-replicating DNA molecules. As per Zydus Cadila, the vaccine which when administered produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arm of the human immune system, which plays a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance.
The platform because of its rapid plug-and-play technology can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus, such as those already occurring. The company plans to manufacture 10 12 crore doses of ZyCoV-D annually.
The vaccine is stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that need to be stored at a very cold temperature, ZyCoV-D can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees. This vaccine is also effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19. ZyCoV-D is needle-free and is administered intradermally which is done using PharmaJet, a needle-free applicator that ensures painless vaccination. This will help in administering the vaccine to kids.
The vaccine is likely to be available by early October, sources told ANI on Saturday. Recently in an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director of Zydus Group said that the supply of the vaccine will start from October onwards.
“The supply of vaccine will begin by mid September and from October onwards, the supply will be scaled up to one crore doses per month,” Patel had said.
On expected supply of vaccine till December, Patel said the company is expecting to scale up 1 crore doses per month from October and it will supply 4-5 crore doses per month till January 2022.
“We can scale up production of a vaccine up to 1 crore a month from October at the new production plant, and it is expected to supply 4-5 million doses till January 2022,” he had said.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), with the administration of 72,86,883 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, the country’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage surpassed the cumulative figure of 73.82Cr (73,82,07,378) as per provisional reports till 7 am on Sunday. This has been achieved through 75,25,766 sessions, stated the ministry.
Currently, Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V vaccines are being administered to the eligible population above 18 years.