India’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has received emergency use authorization from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for its mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine, GEMCOVAC-OM, designed specifically against the Omicron variant. This promising vaccine aims to address the challenges posed by the Omicron variant and prevent future waves of the pandemic.
Addressing the Omicron Variant Challenge
The emergence of the Omicron variant and the limited efficacy of existing vaccines against it have necessitated the development of a booster dose. GEMCOVAC-OM is specifically designed to counter the Omicron variant and bridge the gap left by current vaccines.
Launch and Availability
GEMCOVAC-OM is expected to be launched in the next few weeks, starting in New Delhi. The cost and availability details will be announced during the launch. Currently, 1.2 million booster doses are available at the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) in Kasauli, which oversees regulations for domestically produced vaccines.
Safety and Administration
GEMCOVAC-OM can be safely administered as a booster dose to individuals aged 18 and older who have received two doses of Covaxin or Covishield. The vaccine is stable at 2-8 °C and is administered intradermally using the Tropis device developed by PharmaJet, USA.
Indigenous Platform Technology Development
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has played a pivotal role in establishing Gennova’s mRNA-based vaccine manufacturing. The platform technology, developed through the Mission COVID Suraksha initiative, has enabled the creation of an Omicron-specific booster vaccine.
The Future of mRNA Vaccines
Gennova Biopharmaceuticals becomes the first Indian company and the third globally, following Moderna and Pfizer, to develop an mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccine against the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Gennova’s mRNA platform provides a rapid response capability for developing vaccines against future variants of concern.
About the Department of Biotechnology
The Department of Biotechnology, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, oversees the development and commercialization of modern biology and biotechnology in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi, with Jitendra Singh serving as the Minister of Science and Technology.
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