India’s First mRNA Vaccine Against Omicron Approved

India’s First mRNA Vaccine Against Omicron Approved

India’s First mRNA Vaccine Against Omicron Approved

Context : 

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) late on Monday authorised GEMCOVAC-OM, India’s first locally developed mRNA vaccine for the new coronavirus Omicron strain. 

Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)

  • The drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is the head of the department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Government of India responsible for the approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India
  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare is responsible for the Indian Drugs Controller General. 
  • The DCGI also establishes requirements for the production, marketing, import, and distribution of medicines in India.
  • Rajeev Raghuvanshi was appointed as the new Drug Controller General of India


  • The omicron form (BA.1) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is used as an antigen in the mRNA-based vaccination known as GEMCOVAC-OM
  • Individuals 18 years of age and older who have received either COVAXIN or COVISHIELDTM as a primary immunisation are eligible for the restricted use of GEMCOVAC-OM as a booster in emergencies. 
  • COVID-19 may be avoided with GEMCOVAC -OM. The vaccine is offered as a powder that has been lyophilized.
  • Both GEMCOVAC-19 (against COVID-19) and GEMCOVAC-OM were developed by the Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. While GEMCOVAC-OM has recently been granted, GEMCOVAC-19 was approved previously.
  • According to reports, GEMCOVAC-OM is stable between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, making it suitable for storage in regular refrigerators. It is easier to distribute and administer thanks to this functionality.

mRNA Vaccine

  • mRNA overview: MRNA vaccinations introduce a tiny amount of messenger RNA (mRNA) into the body. The genetic code for creating a particular viral protein is found in this mRNA.
  • Cellular uptake: After being given, the mRNA reaches the body’s cells, especially the muscle cells close to the injection site.
  • Protein synthesis: To create the viral protein, cells follow the instructions stored in the mRNA. Usually, this protein is a piece of the protein that makes up the target virus’s outer membrane.
  • Protein Display: The freshly created viral protein is exhibited on the cell surface as a protein.
  • Immune system recognition: Because the viral protein on display is not typically found in the body, the immune system recognises it as alien.
  • Antibody Production: The immune system responds by turning on specialised immune cells known as B cells. These B cells generate antibodies that are designed to attach to the viral protein in particular.
  • Antibody circulation: When a virus is present, the antibodies are ready to neutralise it and circulate throughout the body.
  • Immune memory: A subgroup of B cells known as memory B cells continue to be able to recognise the viral protein even after the viral protein has been removed.
  • Rapid response after exposure: When a person who has received the vaccine is later exposed to the virus, memory B cells quickly identify the viral proteins on the virus’s surface.
  • Antibody binding and neutralisation: The virus is promptly bound by the preexisting antibodies, which stops it from infecting cells and producing dangerous sickness.
  • Activation of the immune system: After the virus is neutralised, the immune system intensifies its reaction, including the activation of more immune cells such as T cells, to eradicate the pathogen.
  • Protection and averting serious sickness: The antibodies produced by the vaccination aid in preventing the vaccinated person from contracting a severe illness or its complications by swiftly identifying and neutralising the virus.
  • Long-lasting immunity: If a person is exposed to the virus again in the future, their immune system will still remember the viral protein, enabling a quick and effective response.