India has approved the world’s first DNA-based vaccine against Covid-19 for emergency use.
The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of those vaccinated.
India’s second homegrown COVID-19 vaccine can be applied using a needle-free injector.
India declared intention to produce 120 million doses every year.
Previous DNA vaccines have worked well in animals but not humans.
India has so far given more than 570 million doses of three previously approved vaccines – Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.
About 13% of adults have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, 47% of this segment have received at least one shot since the beginning of the drive in January.
Growing Concerns Over Restrictions Relief
The approval for ZyCoV-D comes with vaccination rates picking up across the country over the last few weeks.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned governments worldwide to ease COVID-19 restrictions too soon.
The UN health agency’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan warned of a new wave of infections, saying the pandemic was just getting started for much of the world.
He also warned countries that did so “risked paying a heavy price for rushing back to normality.”
“All of the countries of the Americas, we still have nearly one million cases a week,” he said. “And the same in Europe…with half a million cases a week. It’s not like this thing has gone away,” Ryan added. “It isn’t over.”
This came as some countries declared a plan to ease the coronavirus restrictions further.
India has so far recorded at least 433,589 deaths and more than 32 million COVID-19 infections after the spread of Delta variant.
Delta variant is more transmissible than others and was first identified in India, but it has spread rapidly in the UK.
However, Portugal was the first European Union nation to announce that the Delta variant was now dominant on its territory.