The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has granted Restricted Emergency Use Authorization for two new vaccines and one drug for COVID-19 in India.
Here is your quick guide to the preventive measures and treatments available in India against COVID-19
Co-developed by the University of Oxford and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, the vaccine is manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as Covishield. The two-dose vaccine uses an adenovirus that infects chimpanzees carrying the gene responsible for the novel coronavirus’s spike protein. The virus uses spike proteins to enter and infect human cells. Adenoviruses are common viruses that usually cause a mild cold- or flu-like illness.
The indigenous two-dose vaccine, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, uses an inactivated virus to chemically treat samples of the novel coronavirus to make them incapable of reproduction.
Developed by Russia’s Gamalya Research Institute, the two-dose Sputnik V is a vector vaccine produced using a combination of two adenoviruses called Ad5 and Ad26. Adenoviruses are common viruses that usually cause a mild cold- or flu-like illness.
The DNA vaccine is a three-dose vaccine manufactured by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila. Instead of using regular syringes, the vaccine will be administered by a needle-free applicator. DNA-based vaccination operates by transferring a genetically modified blueprint of viral genes into small molecules of DNA or genetic material for injection into the individuals being vaccinated.
Developed by US-based company Moderna, the two-dose vaccine uses the genetic code of messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce viral proteins to train the immune system for future encounters with the infectious coronavirus. RNA serves as the genetic material in many viruses and mRNA is used to make proteins in the cell.
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The single-dose adenovirus vector vaccine is developed by the American company Johnson & Johnson. It contains a fragment of a modified virus that is not the virus that causes COVID-19. This modified virus is called vector virus. The vector virus cannot reproduce itself, so it is harmless. This vector virus instructs cells in the body to create an immune response.
Manufactured by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E, the vaccine contains a version of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus uses to enter and infect cells. It will be administered intramuscularly in two doses. It has been designed using a technology similar to that used to develop the hepatitis B vaccine.
Developed by the American biotechnology company Novavax and manufactured under license by SII, Kovovax is a two-dose subunit vaccine that contains purified parts of the virus needed to elicit a protective immune response.
American company Merck’s mollupiravir is an antiviral drug that blocks the reproduction of certain viruses. 13 companies will manufacture this drug in India. It is approved under emergency use authorization to treat adults with COVID-19 “who are at high risk of disease progression”.
Developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressant primarily used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and has been repurposed to fight lung infections in COVID-19 patients. It is imported and distributed by Cipla in India, and may be considered for use in the presence of critical illness.
Developed by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in collaboration with Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), 2-DG is an oral drug administered on prescription only in India. Viruses rely on glycolysis or the breakdown of glucose for energy.
The drug interferes with the process of glycolysis and inhibits the growth of the virus.
REGEN-COV2 Antibody Cocktail
Developed by Roche, it is a combination of the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab administered together to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies made in the lab that mimic the activity of our immune system. Casirivimab and imdevimab are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, and are designed to block virus attachment and entry into human cells.