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Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Emcure, is also a leader in developing an in-house mRNA platform that is engaged in the development of vaccines and other bio-therapeutics.

Gennova is India’s only company to deploy the mRNA platform to develop a vaccine, Gemcovac-19, against the novel coronavirus. Gemcovac-19 has already demonstrated safety, immunogenicity and neutralization antibody activity in rodents and non-human primate models. Further to its animal toxicity studies, Gennova is now gearing up to take the vaccine to the next step of clinical study. Apart from this, Gennova is also using the mRNA platform to create vaccines against Zika, rabies and Zoster which are in the pre-clinical stage.

What are mRNA vaccines?

In a standard viral vaccine, either inactivated (or attenuated) virus or viral proteins known to cause the infection are used for immunization. However, an mRNA vaccine carries the molecular instructions to make the protein in the body through a synthetic RNA of the virus. The host body uses this to produce the viral protein that is recognized by the immune system, thereby making the body ready to fight against the disease.

What are the advantages of mRNA vaccines?
  • Novel vaccine development can take anywhere between 10 – 15 years. Considering the immediate need for a vaccine against COVID 19, the developmental time for the vaccine is critical. mRNA vaccines are thus, the ideal choice given their rapid developmental timeline
  • mRNA vaccines are considered safe as mRNA is non-infectious, non-integrating in nature and degraded by normal cellular mechanisms. They are highly efficacious because of their inherent capability of being translated into a protein inside the host cell
  • Additionally, mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic and do not require a host for growth, example eggs or bacteria. Therefore, they have a shorter manufacturing lead time
  • The novel mRNA vaccine candidate, Gemcovac-19, has all the necessary information to guide the host cells to make the antigen – spike protein of the virus, reported to interact with host cell receptor, and supported by ‘cationic lipid nano-emulsion (CLNE)’ as a delivery vehicle
  • When the vaccine is injected into the body the synthetic mRNA is taken to muscle cells where it instructs the cells to make numerous copies of the mRNA and antigen
  • The coronavirus uses its RNA genome to multiply and express viral proteins within the human cells. Gennova’s uses a similar approach, giving it an advantage over conventional vaccine candidates to present the identical form of the coronavirus spike protein as it is reported during its infection cycle
  • Other immune cells then act on the spike proteins and in the process learn to identify the coronavirus and protect the body if the person were ever to be actually infected
  • The mRNA is associated with the cationic lipid nano-emulsion (CLNE) and acts as a delivery system which stabilizes the mRNA and acts as adjuvant till delivery into patients
    • The vaccine uses a self-amplifying mRNA platform which gives it the advantage of a low dosing regimen
    • It is stable at 2-8°C

Mechanism of Action of mRNA vaccine

Mechanism of Action of mRNA vaccine

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