Recently, India has placed an advance order to block 300 million doses of a new Covid-19 vaccine, Corbevax, from Hyderabad-based Company Biological E.
What is Corbevax Vaccine?
- It is a “recombinant protein sub-unit” vaccine, which means it is made up of a specific part of SARS-CoV-2 i.e. the spike protein on the virus’s surface.
- It is indigenously produced as its beginning can be traced to the Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine.
- The School had been working on recombinant protein vaccines for coronaviruses SARS and MERS for a decade.
- It is a protein sub-unit vaccine, similar to inactivated whole-cell vaccines such as Covaxin, and does not contain live components of the virus.
Working of Corbevax Vaccine
- The spike protein allows the virus to enter the cells in the body so that it can replicate and cause disease.
- When this protein alone is given to the body, it is not expected to be harmful as the rest of the virus is absent.
- The body is expected to develop an immune response against the injected spike protein.
- When the real virus attempts to infect the body, it will already have an immune response ready that will make it unlikely for the person to fall severely ill.
- It will be among the first Covid-19 vaccines to use this platform.
How Corbevax Vaccine is different from others?
- The Covid-19 vaccines approved so far are either mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or viral vector vaccines (AstraZeneca-Oxford/Covishield, Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik V) or inactivated vaccines (Covaxin, Sinovac-CoronaVac and Sinopharm’s SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine–Vero Cell).
- The inactivated vaccines, which include killed particles of the whole SARS-CoV-2 virus, attempt to target the entire structure of the virus.
- Viral vector and mRNA vaccines use a code to induce our cells to make the spike proteins against which the bodies have to build immunity.
- As it is made using a low-cost platform, it is also expected to be among the cheapest available in the country.
Importance of Corbevax Vaccine
- It is the first time the Indian government has placed an order for a vaccine that has not received emergency use authorisation.
- The Centre has provided major pre-clinical and clinical trial support towards the vaccine’s development, including a grant-in-aid of Rs 100 crore from the Department of Biotechnology.
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