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India's DNA COVID Vaccine is a World First -- More Are Coming

Friday September 3, 2021. 08:12 PM , from Slashdot
India's DNA COVID Vaccine is a World First -- More Are Coming
India has approved a new COVID vaccine that uses circular strands of DNA to prime the immune system against the virus SARS-CoV-2. Researchers have welcomed news of the first DNA vaccine for people to receive approval anywhere in the world, and say many other DNA vaccines may soon be hot on its heels. From a report: ZyCoV-D, which is administered into the skin without an injection, has been found to be 67% protective against symptomatic COVID-19 in clinical trials, and will likely start to be administered in India this month. Although the efficacy is not particularly high compared to that of many other COVID-19 vaccines, the fact that it is a DNA vaccine is significant, say researchers. It is proof of the principle that DNA vaccines work and can help in controlling the pandemic, says Peter Richmond, a paediatric immunologist at the University of Western Australia in Perth. 'This is a really important step forward in the fight to defeat COVID-19 globally, because it demonstrates that we have another class of vaccines that we can use.'

Close to a dozen DNA vaccines against COVID-19 are in clinical trials globally, and at least as many again are in earlier stages of development. DNA vaccines are also being developed for many other diseases. 'If DNA vaccines prove to be successful, this is really the future of vaccinology' because they are easy to manufacture, says Shahid Jameel, a virologist at Ashoka University in Sonipat, India. The urgency of combating COVID-19 has fast-tracked the development of vaccines that use genetic technology, such as messenger RNA and DNA vaccines, says David Weiner, director of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. RNA vaccines were quicker to show strong immune responses in clinical trials; they have now been delivered to hundreds of millions of people around the world. But DNA vaccines have a number of benefits, because they are easy to produce and the finished products are more stable than mRNA vaccines, which typically require storage at very low temperatures.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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