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What is the News?
India’s first mRNA vaccine against coronavirus named “HGCO19” has been found to be safe and has been given the go-ahead from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to move into Phase II and III of clinical trials.
About HGCO19 Vaccine:
- The HGCO19 is India’s first mRNA vaccine candidate. It is being developed by Pune-based biotechnology company Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.
- The development program of this vaccine was partly funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India under Ind CEPI.
- Later on, the DBT further supported the program under the Mission COVID Suraksha.
About mRNA Vaccines:
- Vaccines work by training our bodies to recognize invading viruses.
- Traditional vaccines perform this task by introducing a dead, inactive or modified portion of a virus into our body so that our immune system can learn to recognize and fight this foreign invader.
- On the other hand, mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine. They don’t use live viruses to trigger an immune response. Instead, they supply mRNA that instructs our cells to make a version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that will trigger an immune response. Once triggered, the body will make antibodies. These antibodies will help to fight the infection if the real virus enters the body in the future.
Benefits of mRNA Vaccines:
- Firstly, the underlying technology behind mRNA vaccines is adaptable, allowing for quick updates as new viral mutations (variants) evolve or whole new viruses are discovered.
- Secondly, mRNA vaccines are quicker and more reliably manufactured than traditional vaccines.
Disadvantages of mRNA Vaccines:
- Firstly, mRNA Vaccines are not as stable at high temperatures, making packaging and distribution difficult.
- Secondly, although clinical trials and early studies of these vaccines in real-world use have shown largely positive results, the long-term effects are still unknown.