Gennova CEO Dr Sanjay Singh is hoping that the vaccine would counter the candidates of giants like Pfizer and Moderna in terms of efficacy
Coronavirus vaccine: As several vaccine candidates are being developed all across the world to fight the coronavirus pandemic, various companies in India are also developing their own candidates. One among them is Maharashtra-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, which is working on a vaccine based on the mRNA technology. Its CEO Dr Sanjay Singh is hoping that the vaccine would counter the developments of giants like Pfizer and Moderna in terms of efficacy, while also being more affordable for India, according to an interaction he had with IE.
Gennova mRNA vaccine vs Pfizer and Moderna candidates
IE quoted Singh as saying that Gennova vaccine is based on the self-amplifying mRNA platform. Even so, their vaccine candidate would work in a manner similar to those of Pfizer and Moderna.
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Singh said that Gennova’s vaccine would also send a message to the cells, converting them into antigen and triggering an immune response within the body against the novel coronavirus. However, while Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine candidates use non-replicating mRNA, theirs is self-amplifying or replicating mRNA-based.
In a pandemic, the self-amplifying mRNA platform is more helpful, Singh said. Vaccines in such situations are deployed in billions, and keeping in mind the population of India, such a vaccine would be most appropriate, since even a lower dose of the vaccine could also be helpful as in a self-amplifying type of vaccine, one mRNA molecule replicates itself upon entering the cell, leading to more quantities of the protein antigen within the body as compared to a similar dosage of a non-replicating mRNA vaccine. This means that a much lesser dose of this vaccine can also be effective and provide the same amount of protection against the virus.
Singh further said that while Moderna’s vaccine candidate works when given 100 micrograms in two dosages and Pfizer’s works at 30 micrograms divided into two dosages, Gennova is aiming for vaccine doses of 5, 10 as well 25 micrograms, and is hoping for any one of these routines to work effectively.
He also stated that a major advantage of mRNA platform generally is that it does not enter the nucleus of the cell, preventing any integration with the genome of the organism. The mRNA works in the cytoplasm and is a self-degrading molecule which goes away within some time.
The preclinical trials of the vaccine were conducted on animals for nine months, starting in March.
Gennova vaccine candidate price projection
Singh said that how much a vaccine costs is dependent directly on the mass production of the vaccine. While it needs to be competitive as well as affordable, the priority is to make it safe and effective. He assured that the vaccine would be affordable, but it would also depend on the number of doses they manufacture.