India has developed its first booster COVID-19 vaccine called GEMCOVAC-OM, specifically targeting the highly transmissible Omicron variant. The vaccine has been launched by Science and Technology Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh on 26 June 2023 in New Delhi.
- The booster vaccine can be administered to individuals who have already received two doses of either Covaxin or Covishield.
- It will be rolled out from the upcoming Monday and will cost INR 2,292 per dose.
- The vaccine has shown robust immune responses in phase-3 clinical trials conducted at 20 centers across 13 cities in India.
- GEMCOVAC-OM is a needle-free, thermostable vaccine that can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, eliminating the need for ultra-cold chain infrastructure.
- It has received emergency use authorization for the Omicron variant from the Drugs Controller General of India.
- The development of the vaccine is part of the mission COVID Suraksha, with a focus on technology-driven innovation and creating a future-ready technology platform.
- This platform can be utilized for the development of other vaccines in a relatively short timeline.
- The government’s investments have fostered a strong entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem that has aided the response against the pandemic.
Question : India’s first booster vaccine, GEMCOVAC-OM, is designed to target which COVID-19 variant?
A) Delta variant
B) Alpha variant
C) Omicron variant
D) Beta variant
Ans : C) Omicron variant