Omicron-specific mRNA-based booster vaccine launched

New Delhi: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday launched an Omicron-specific mRNA-based booster vaccine for Covid.

GEMCOVAC-OM is India’s first mRNA vaccine developed using the indigenous platform technology by Gennova, with funding support from Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a statement said.

A few days ago, this vaccine got the nod from the office of the Drug Control General of India (DCGI) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

GEMCOVAC-OM is the fifth vaccine developed with support from Mission COVID Suraksha implemented by DBT and BIRAC under Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package of the government for accelerated development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Singh said this ‘future-ready’ technology platform can be used to make other vaccines in a relatively shorter time.

GEMCOVAC-OM is a thermostable vaccine and does not require ultra-cold chain infrastructure used for other approved mRNA-based vaccines.

“This innovation makes it easy for last mile deployment in our country. The existing supply chain infrastructure is sufficient to deploy this vaccine,” said Singh, adding, “Its unique feature is that this vaccine can be administered without a needle injection.”
The vaccine is delivered intra-dermally using a needle-free injection device system and in study participants it generated significantly higher immune responses, the statement said.

The clinical outcome demonstrates the need for variant-specific vaccines for desired immune response, it said.