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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.