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8 vaccines, 4 treatments in India's COVID-19 arsenal

December 28, 2021 19:03 IST

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has granted restricted emergency use authorisation to two new vaccines and a drug for COVID-19, taking the number of preventives and treatments available in India to 12.

Here is the list:

IMAGE: A woman wearing a protective mask walks past a wall graffiti creating awareness against COVID-19, at Navi Mumbai. Photograph: ANI photo

1. Covishield

Co-developed by the University of Oxford and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, the vaccine is manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) as Covishield in India. The two-dose vaccine uses adenoviruses that infect chimpanzees to carry the gene responsible for the spike protein of the novel coronavirus. The virus uses the spike protein to enter and infect the human cells.

Adenoviruses are common viruses that typically cause mild cold- or flu-like illness.


2. Covaxin

The indigenous two-dose vaccine, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology, uses an inactivated virus developed by chemically treating novel coronavirus samples to make them incapable of reproduction.

3. Sputnik V

Developed by Russia's Gamaleya 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 typically cause mild cold- or flu-like illness.

4. ZyCoV-D

The DNA vaccine produced by Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila is a three-dose vaccine. Instead of using regular syringes, the vaccine will be administered by a needle-free applicator. The DNA-based vaccinations operate by transferring a genetically modified blueprint of viral genes into small molecules of DNA or genetic material for injection into persons being vaccinated.

5. Moderna

Developed by US-based company Moderna, the two-dose vaccine uses genetic code of messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce the viral protein to train the immune system for a future encounter with the infectious coronavirus. RNA acts as a genetic material in many viruses and mRNA is used in making proteins in a cell.

6. Johnson and Johnson

The single-dose adenovirus vector vaccine is developed by the American company Johnson and Johnson. It contains a piece of a modified virus that is not the virus that causes COVID-19. This modified virus is called the vector virus. The vector virus cannot reproduce itself, so it is harmless. This vector virus gives instructions to cells in the body to create an immune response.

7. Corbevax

Made by Hyderabad-based firm Biological-E, the vaccine consists of a version of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus uses to enter and infect the cells. It will be administered intramuscularly in two doses. It has been designed using a similar technology used for developing Hepatitis B vaccines.

8. Covovax

Developed by American biotechnology company Novavax and manufactured under license by SII, Covovax is a two-dose subunit vaccine that contains purified parts of the virus necessary to elicit a protective immune response.


9. Molnupiravir 

American company Merck's Molnupiravir is an antiviral medication that inhibits the reproduction of certain viruses. The drug will be manufactured in India by 13 companies. It has been approved under emergency use authorisation for treating adults with COVID-19 "who have high risk of progression to disease".

10. Tocilizumab

Developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, tocilizumab is an immunosuppressant primarily used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and has been repurposed to fight lung infection in Covid-19 patients. It is imported and distributed by Cipla in India, and may be considered for use in the presence of severe disease.

11. 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG)

Developed by Dr Reddy's Laboratories in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organization, 2-DG is an oral drug administered in India only on prescription. The virus depends upon glycolysis or breakdown of glucose for energy. The drug hinders the process of glycolysis and prevents the growth of the virus.

12. REGEN-COV2 antibody cocktail

Developed by Roche, it is a combination of monoclonal antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab that are administered together for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. Monoclonal antibodies are artificial antibodies created 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 the virus' attachment and entry into human cells.

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