Ancovax

Fact for prelims

Ancovax

News: The Agriculture Ministry unveiled India’s first Covid-19 vaccine for animals. Developed by Hisar-based National Research Center on Equines, the vaccine called Ancovax, can protect animals against the Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2.

How does it work?
• It can be used in dogs, lions, leopards, mice and rabbits. It is an inactivated vaccine developed using an infectious part of the Delta variant.
• In addition, it uses Alhydrogel as an adjuvant to boost the immune system.

What was the need for it?
• There have been reports of Covid-19 infection in several animals, including dogs and cats.
• The aim of the vaccine is to protect endangered animals such as lions and tigers.
• India reported at least nine covid infections in Asiatic lions in Chennai zoo last year, with one of the lioness likely to have died of it. This prompted the closure of tiger reserves for tourism.

Why type matters?
• A killed vaccine for animals is always better than a live-attenuated vaccine (where a weakened live virus is used)
• A live vaccine in wild animals is avoided as it might have been attenuated for one particular species, but it can still cause disease in another.
• Around 15 years ago, a rabies vaccine developed for dogs was given to wolves in Africa and unfortunately the entire pack died. A killed virus vaccine will not harm the animals.

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