GEMCOVAC¬OM: India’s First mRNA Vaccine

Context: GEMCOVAC­OM, India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine for the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, was approved under emergency use guidelines by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). 
  • This comes a year after Pune­ based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. got approval for GEMCOVAC­19 against COVID­19.
About the Vaccine:
  • GEMCOVAC­OM was stable in a 2­8 degrees Celsius range and hence could be stored in ordinary refrigerators.
  • It could be administered into the skin via a needle free PharmaJet system.
  • It has demonstrated robust immune responses in phase 3 clinical trials conducted at 20 centres across 13 cities in India.
What is mRNA vaccine?
  • It is a new type of vaccine that uses a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) rather than part of an actual bacteria or virus.
  • Messenger RNA is a type of RNA that is necessary for protein production.
  • Once cells finish making a protein, they quickly break down the mRNA.
  • mRNA from vaccines does not enter the nucleus and does not alter DNA.
Working of mRNA Vaccine:
  • mRNA vaccines work by introducing a piece of mRNA that corresponds to a viral protein, usually a small piece of a protein found on the virus’s outer membrane.
  • Individuals who get an mRNA vaccine are not exposed to the virus, nor can they become infected with the virus by the vaccine.
  • By using this mRNA, cells can produce the viral protein. As part of a normal immune response, the immune system recognizes that the protein is foreign and produces specialised proteins called antibodies.
  • If a person is exposed to a virus after receiving mRNA vaccination for it, antibodies can quickly recognize it, attach to it, and mark it for destruction before it can cause serious illness.
News Source: The Hindu

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