On Friday evening India got it's sixth COVID-19 vaccine with the indigenously developed ZyCOV-D jab being approved for emergency usage. The announcement gains additional significance as this is the world's first DNA-based vaccine against the coronavirus and India's first jab to be approved for use on children. The EUA for ZyCoV-D makes all above the age of 12 eligible for the same.
While the vaccine is not yet available, Sharvil Patel, the MD of Zydus Group declared on Saturday that supply would start from mid-September. "We can scale up production of vaccines to 1 crore a month from October at the new production plant," he added.
According to Patil, the efficacy of the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine is over 66%. It's efficacy against the far more infectious and deadly Delta variant, he said, is about 66%.
Thus far, there has been no details given on the price of Zydus' vaccine. In June this year, the Centre had capped COVID-19 vaccine prices, even as government hospitals continued to provide jabs free of cost. The maximum price (including GST and service charges) for each dose of Covishield is Rs 780, while Covaxin jabs are priced at a maximum of Rs. 1410. Each dose of the Russian-made Sputnik V jab can cost upto Rs. 1145.
According to Patil, there will be clarity on the price of the jab next week. Keep in mind however that this is a three-dose vaccine, and as such the prices will have to be calculated somewhat differently than those presently in use in India.
ZyCoV-D is a DNA-based vaccine and when injected, produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from the disease as well as viral clearance. The "plug-and-play" technology on which the plasmid DNA platform is based can be easily adapted to deal with mutations in the virus. The vaccine is needle-free, being administered using PharmaJet, an applicator that ensures painless intradermal vaccine delivery.
(With inputs from agencies)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)