- Recently, India has started phase I/II clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine – ZyCoV-D, designed and developed by Zydus (a pharmaceutical company) with support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
About the vaccine
- ZyCoV-D, a plasmid DNA vaccine,comes under the Vaccine Discovery Programme supported by the Department of Biotechnology under the National Biopharma Mission.
- It was found to initiate a strong immune response in multiple animal species like mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.
- The development of ZyCov-D has established the DNA vaccine platform in the country which is simple to deploy, temperature stable, and consistently manufacturable- thus lowering costs and enhancing the effectiveness of a vaccine.
Back to Basics
National Biopharma Mission
- It is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating bio pharmaceutical development in the country.
- It was launched in 2017 at a total cost of 1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank loan.
- It is being implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
- BIRAC is a Public Sector Enterprise,set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology.
- Under this Mission, the Government has launched Innovate in India (i3) programme to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the biopharma sector.
- Development of vaccines, medical devices, diagnostics and biotherapeutics besides, strengthening the clinical trial capacity and building technology transfer capabilities in the country.