Going needle-free with ZyCov-D? Important facts about this vaccine


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • ZyCoV-D uses DNA-based technology to arm the immune system
  • It is the first-of-its-kind vaccine to be approved by global health agencies
  • Once cleared, this vaccine will be used for adolescents and children

The Government of India has recently authorized a needle-free COVID-19 vaccine. Developed by an Indian pharmaceutical company, this vaccine is meant to be given to children to ease their fear of needles [1]. Given the country’s population and the speed at which immunization demands need to be fulfilled, authorities are hopeful that this vaccine will be a gamechanger. This is especially a big move now as India is also expecting a third wave of the coronavirus. Read on to know more about this needleless vaccine. 

Additional Read: Covishield vs Sputnik vs Covaxin or Pfizer? Major Differences and Important Tips

 needle-free vaccines

What is ZyCov-D?

Developed by Zydus Cadila, a 70-year-old pharmaceutical company, Zydus vaccine, more prominently known as ZyCoV-D is different as compared to existing coronavirus vaccines. This is because the existing ones use mRNA to train the immune system to combat the coronavirus. On the other hand, ZyCoV-D uses DNA-based technology to combat the virus. This means that it uses the genetic code of certain viral proteins to train the human immune system. It is the first- of-its-kind coronavirus vaccine that the authorities have approved. 

ZyCoV-D vaccine doses consist of a plasmid DNA, which is a small, circular DNA that is naturally found in bacteria. It also contains the genetic material of SARS-COV-2, accountable for producing its spike protein, integrated into it. When ZyCoV-D is injected, it prompts an immune response.

ZyCoV-D is a needleless vaccine using a special syringe and requires three doses. These are administered using a needle-free applicator. After the first dose, children can get the second and third doses at 28 and 56 days, respectively. As per government reports, a single dose of the ZyCoV-D vaccine will cost Rs. 376 including the cost of the jet applicator and GST [2]. This means that the total cost of the 3-dose jab will be Rs. 1,128.

How will a needleless vaccine benefit India?

The ZyCoV-D vaccine is the first one to receive a nod from the authorities in India for adolescents in the age group of 12-18 years. This is 7th coronavirus vaccine to be approved by Indian authorities [3]. Cadila Healthcare Ltd. had applied for its approval way back in July 2021, based on its research and clinical trials. Data showed that the vaccine has 66.6% effectiveness for symptomatic COVID cases. 

According to preliminary research presented by the company, this vaccine worked positively against the Delta variant too. But a full round of clinical trial still awaits until this can be confirmed. Needleless to say, if this is proven to be true, ZyCoV-D will be a breakthrough for not only the kids, but also adults. 

Considering that it is needleless, this vaccine will work wonders for people who are uncomfortable with needles or afraid of them. It will also require less training and thus may be given out as a faster speed in comparison to others. DNA vaccines like this one can also be produced easily. This vaccine is also more stable compared to mRNA vaccines that need proper cold storage. From saving time and resources to getting a bigger population vaccinated quickly, the ZyCoV-D vaccine can truly going to benefit a country like India. 

Additional Read: Coronavirus Reinfection: An Important Guide To How Long Your Immunity Lasts

Needleless Vaccines

Other vaccines against COVID-19 in India

ZyCoV-D is the first DNA vaccine for coronavirus and research has proven that this type of vaccine is safe. Since it is not produced using live constituents of the virus, there is no risk of infection. However, until this vaccine becomes available freely, there are many other coronavirus vaccines available in India today. As an adult, you can easily get vaccinated at the earliest if you haven’t already. 

Some of the most popular coronavirus vaccines approved to be used in India are:

  • Covaxin 
  • Covishield 
  • SputnikV

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is also available in India now. Covishield is more broadly recognized owing to its Oxford/AstraZeneca roots. Approved in 47 countries, authorities are recognizing this vaccine more prominently for travelers as well. Covaxin, on the other hand, is India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. Developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV), it has been found to deliver 77.8% efficacy against symptomatic coronavirus. More widely used after Covishield, this vaccine has also been found effective against advance mutations of the virus.

Keep this information in mind as the pandemic is still not behind us. We need to continue taking care as the coronavirus mutates and newer variants like Omicron come to fore. It is also our responsibility to support the medical community by doing our bit. Be safe by taking hygienic measures and precautions. If you or your family members experience symptoms like fever, itchy throat, body pain, and more, consult a doctor at once. To speed up the process, get in touch with a doctor by booking an online consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health. Stay safe at home and get the medical advice you need right at your fingertips. 

Published on 8 Dec 2021Last updated on 1 Aug 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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