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2021 AUG 21

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Miscellaneous   >   COVID 19

Why in news?

  • The Drug Controller General has granted emergency approval to the Zycov-D, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Ahmedabad based Zydus Cadilla group, on 20th August, making it the first vaccine in India that can be administered to adults as well as those 12 and above.

About Zycov-D

  • ZyCov-D is a ‘plasmid DNA’ vaccine  or a vaccine that uses a genetically engineered, non-replicating version of a type of DNA molecule known as a ‘plasmid’.
  • It's the only DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine in the world and can be administered without a needle, purportedly minimising chances of reactions.
  • The vaccine has been developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology under the ‘Mission COVID Suraksha'
  • This is the fifth vaccine, after Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V and Moderna to be approved for use in India

How it works?

  • The plasmids in this vaccine are coded with the instructions to make the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
  • Vaccination gives the code to cells in the recipient’s body, so they can begin making the spiky outer layer of the virus.
  • The immune system is expected to recognize this as a threat and develop antibodies in response.

What are DNA and RNA Vaccines?

  • Traditional vaccines, which expose the body to proteins made by a virus or bacteria, are often made by using weakened or inactive versions of that virus or bacteria.
  • That’s how popular vaccines, like polio vaccine, BCG vaccine etc works.
  • When you get the polio vaccine, for example, your body is introduced to weakened forms of the polio viruses that do not cause disease >> This triggers an immune response and causes your body to make antibodies like it would with a natural infection.
  • These antibodies help recognize and fight the virus should you be exposed to it later on, helping prevent you from getting sick.
  • A DNA or RNA vaccine has the same goal as traditional vaccines, but they work slightly differently.
  • Instead of injecting a weakened form of a virus or bacteria into the body, DNA and RNA vaccines use part of the virus’ own genes to stimulate an immune response.
  • In other words, they carry the genetic instructions for the host’s cells to make antigens


With reference to ‘Zycov-D’, recently seen in news, consider the following statements:

1. The vaccine has been developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology under the ‘Mission COVID Suraksha'

2. It's the first DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine in the world

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