Plasmid DNA Vaccine – Fight against Covid-19

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DNA vaccine

Plasmid DNA Vaccine technique has been proven to have helped in controlling various infectious diseases such as measles, hepatitis, polio, etc. The technique was introduced in the clinical field at the beginning of the 1990s. Since then many DNA vaccines have been developed to fight against viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases. During current pandemic times, Covid-19 is mutating at a faster rate than our control measures. We are finding it difficult to reach herd immunity. There are already many mRNA vaccines available. However looking at the scale of infection worldwide, we needed a more viable option. DNA-based vaccine fits one more weapon in our arsenal against Covid-19.

Benefits of Plasmid DNA Vaccine

The benefits of Plasmid DNA Vaccine especially during the current pandemic are many. We have successfully won our battle with many diseases worldwide, thanks to Plasmid DNA-based vaccine. Enumerating a few of the benefits below:-

  1. Ability to stimulate both the innate and adaptive immune response.
  2. It is biologically more stable.
  3. Easy to manufacture
  4. Can be administered intradermal, intramuscular, nasally, or orally.
  5. Protects against diverse types of pathogens.
  6. Effective in tumor cells, allergy, and autoimmune disease cases.

Designing the vaccine

DNA Vaccines are designed using expression plasmids that are safe for humans. These expression plasmids can be easily produced on a commercial scale. These expressions once injected regulate antigen expression in various target tissues. 

Intracellular recognition of plasmid DNA and the identification of its receptors has allowed for improving the effectiveness of immune response induced by DNA Vaccine. The preclinical and clinical trials have shown the efficacy of the DNA vaccine against Covid-19 (made by Zydus Cadila) and are well tolerated. 

The future of DNA Vaccine

Since we are aware that the DNA vaccine is easy to handle and can be mass-produced more easily, we expect the vaccine ZyCov-D to be a game-changer in our fight to Covid-19. Although currently it has been planned based on three doses however the efficacy of two dose regime is also under study. Since it is a DNA-based vaccine, it will be fit for children as well. 

Delivery of this current Plasmid DNA vaccine will be through a needle-less applicator called the PharmaJet. The process will be completely painless. Vaccine hesitancy due to fear of needles can be overcome by ZyCov-D.

Summary

Plasmid DNA vaccines are an economical, effective novel strategy that induces antigen-specific immune responses. Since the technique has already proved effective against several other diseases, its success is not very difficult to achieve. Of course, there are challenges involved in developing however its application on diverse platforms, multiple antigen protection, suitable innate and humoral immune response makes our best possible answer to Covid-19. In addition to this handling design and commercial production capacity makes it more suitable to a population of the size of India. 

In case we want to win the battle with Covid-19 and get back to our routine lives, it is important to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible. Hence, we all must get ourselves vaccinated at the earliest. 

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