Following the news that Zydus Cadila has applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for its plasmid DNA COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D; Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData offers his view:
“ZyCoV-D is India’s second indigenous vaccine for COVID-19 and may be the world’s first DNA-based vaccine approved for COVID-19. Following its approval, it will be the fifth or sixth approved vaccine for COVID-19 in India, as Pfizer is also in discussion with the Indian government for approval.
“ZyCoV-D’s Phase III interim analysis has shown efficacy of 66.6 per cent and was conducted in over 28,000 subjects, including 1000 subjects in the 12-18 age group. However, the overall efficacy reported in the interim analysis is low compared to other available vaccines, including Moderna’s vaccine (approved but not yet available in India), Sputnik, Covaxin and Covishield in India.
“Reportedly, ZyCoV-D needs three doses at day 0, day 28 and day 56. It is the first vaccine with three doses, which is less convenient compared to two doses regimens which could affect its overall penetration.
“Zydus Cadila is the first company in India to conclude trials in the 12-18 age group and hence it will focus on this patient pool as the third wave is said to affect children below 18 years. Moreover, the vaccine is administered through a needle-free injection system, which may further increase the acceptance of this vaccine in this age group.
“According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, India is ranked second globally after China in terms of the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at over 327 million doses.
“Covishield and Covaxin dominate India’s overall vaccination drive, with Covishield representing over 87 per cent of the overall vaccines administered as of 01 July 2021. India has further ramped up the vaccination drive in response to a possible third wave. Therefore, additional vaccine approvals and improved supply will help achieve the Indian government’s objective to vaccinate its population by December 2021.”