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2023 JUN 21

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Biotechnology   >   COVID 19

Why in news?

  • India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine for the Omicron variant, GEMCOVAC-OM has been approved under emergency use guidelines by the Drug Controller General of India.


  • GEMCOVAC-OM is India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine for the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
  • Developed by Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Eligibility: ??
    • Those who are 18 years of age and older can take the vaccine as a booster dose.
    • This can be administered safely to individuals who have received two doses of either Covaxin or Covishield.


  • It is a thermo-stable vaccine, which does not require ultra-cold chain infrastructure used for other approved mRNA-based vaccines, making it easy for deployment pan India.
  • It is delivered intra-dermally using a needle-free injection device system.
  • When administered intradermal in participants as a booster, it generated significantly higher immune responses.

What is mRNA vaccine?

  • mRNA vaccine uses messenger RNA that encodes the spike protein of the coronavirus. In other words, the mRNA directs the cell to produce copies of the spike protein so that the immune system will recognise the spike if and when actual infection takes place, and mount a response.
  • On the other hand, self-amplifying mRNA vaccines are an improvement on the traditional RNA platform.
  • These are the ones in which the delivered RNA multiplies inside the body. The basic advantage of these vaccines is that
    •  a) It comes at a lower cost
    • b) Their self-amplifying design allows for smaller doses.


With reference to ‘mRNA vaccine’, consider the following statements:

1. Unlike DNA vaccines, mRNA vaccines are more fragile as the molecules degrade within minutes when exposed to the outside environment

2. mRNA need to be stored at extremely low temperatures.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


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