EDEN IAS

INDIA’S mRNA COVID VACCINE

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS | INDIA’S mRNA COVID VACCINE | 30TH JUNE | INDIAN EXPRESS

SYLLABUS SECTION:

WHY IN THE NEWS?

Recently, the country’s first homegrown INDIA’S mRNA Covid-19 vaccine,

GEMCOVAC-19, developed at Pune’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, has got ‘restricts emergency use’ approval for the 18-and-above age group.

How mRNA vaccines work?

  • Most traditional vaccines put a weakened or inactivated virus in the body to generate an immune response.
  • An mRNA vaccine instructs the body itself to create a part of the virus.
  • Genetically engineered mRNA instructs cells to make the spike protein found on the surface of Covid-19 virus.
  • The Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer BioNTech and Modern’s both use mRNA(messenger RNA)to deliver a message to the immune system.

The expectation is that the immune system will mount a response against the spike protein, and that,

if and when an actual infection happens, the immune cells will recognize the spike protein and act against it.

INDIA’S mRNA COVID VACCINE

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THIS BREAKTHROUGH:

  • One of the advantages of an mRNA vaccine is that it requires a smaller dose than a traditional vaccine, given that the require amount of antigen will be create in the body itself.
  • Unlike in the West, where the vaccine has to be store at sub-zero temperatures, the vaccine in India can be store 2-8°C.
  • mRNA is fragile and breaks down easily, which is why vaccines base on this platform need to be stores at extremely low temperature stop prevent a breakdown.
  • GEMCOVAC-19 can now be stores at the temperature of a standard medical refrigerator.
LYOPHILISATION:
  • The vaccine stores in powder form. The conversion from liquid to powder form takes place by a process called lyophilization or freeze drying, which involves freezing the product and subjecting it to vacuum to remove the water (converted from its ice state to water vapor state by a process called sublimation)
  • This is a challenging task as under normal atmospheric pressure ice transforms to liquid water before going to the gaseous state
  • To achieve the conversion of ice to water vapor so that it can be removed, the surrounding pressure and temperature has to be tweaked and then kept stable in a manner that the characteristics of the vaccine are the same as before lyophilization
SIGNIFICANCE:
  • The process of developing an mRNA vaccine specific to India took one-and-a-half years.
  • Additionally, the team designed an mRNA vaccine against the Omicron variant which took barely 60 days.
  • This technology platform provides flexibility to quickly tweak the vaccine for any existing or emerging variants.
  • The approval of the nation’s first mRNA vaccine will pave the way to the development of new-variant-specific mRNA vaccines that can be used as future booster doses.

SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS

This will close in 0 seconds