DNA vaccine

DNA vaccination is a technique for protecting an animal against disease by injecting it with genetically engineered DNA so cells directly produce an antigen, resulting in a protective immunological response. Several DNA vaccines have been released for veterinary use, and there has been promising research using the vaccines for viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases, as well as to several tumour types.

Although only one DNA vaccine has been approved for human use, DNA vaccines may have a number of potential advantages over conventional vaccines, including the ability to induce a wider range of immune response types. The concept was in the news recently.

It is an important topic for candidates preparing for the upcoming IAS Exam. Thus, candidates must carefully go through the information discussed further below in this article.

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About DNA Vaccine

  • A type of vaccine that transfects a specific antigen DNA-coding sequence onto the cells of an immunized species is known as DNA Vaccine
  • They are also known as third-generation vaccines
  • DNA vaccine has a theoretical advantage in comparison to the other conventional vaccines
  • These vaccines are yet not completely appropriate for human use and can only be used for animal species
  • These vaccines contain DNA that codes for specific proteins (antigens) from a pathogen

For information about the Types of Vaccines, candidates can visit the linked article.

Advantages of DNA Vaccine

Given below are the major advantages of DNA Vaccines:

  • The immune response focused on the antigen of interest
  • Cost-effective
  • Less risk for infection
  • Antigen presentation by MHC class I and class II molecules
  • Long-term persistence of immunogen

Limitations of DNA Vaccine

There are certain side effects of using DNA Vaccines. Discussed below are the same:

  • Risk of affecting genes controlling cell growth
  • Possibility of tolerance to the antigen
  • Potential for atypical processing of bacterial and parasite proteins
  • Limited to protein immunogens
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Elements of DNA Vaccine

  • DNA vaccines are composed of a bacterial plasmids
  • There are two units of this DNA Vaccinations:
    • the antigen expression unit
    • the production unit
  • The construction of bacterial plasmids with vaccine inserts is accomplished using recombinant DNA technology

Also, read UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis: April 12, 2020

Applications of DNA Vaccine

DNA vaccines have only been used for animal species but currently, trials are ongoing for human vaccines as well. Discussed below are the various applications of DNA vaccines:

  • DNA vaccines against cancer – Cancer has been a cause of death for many worldwide. DNA vaccines are reliable forms of immunotherapy and can be effective for people fighting cancer
  • DNA vaccines against tuberculosis – DNA-based vaccine can be used to curb Tuberculosis which is a major health problem for people across the world
  •  DNA vaccines against HIV – Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which is a health crisis and using this type of vaccine, can be treated

Apart from the ones mentioned above, the trials for DNA vaccines against malaria, dengue, influenza, etc are also ongoing.

Candidates must also visit the Mission COVID Surakha page to know in detail about the development of Coronavirus vaccine in India.

Aspirants must go through the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination. This will help candidates sort out a better preparation strategy. 

For any further information, exam updates, study material and preparation tips, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for assistance. 

Frequently Asked Questions on DNA Vaccines


Q 1. What are DNA Vaccines?

Ans. DNA vaccination is a technique for protecting an animal against disease by injecting it with genetically engineered DNA so cells directly produce an antigen, resulting in a protective immunological response.

Q 2. What is the use of DNA Vaccines?

Ans. DNA vaccines have been released for veterinary use, and there has been promising research using the vaccines for viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases, as well as to several tumour types.

Q 3. Can DNA Vaccines be used on human beings?

Ans. Human trials are being done for various applications of DNA vaccines.

Q 4. How does a DNA vaccine work?

Ans. DNA vaccines work by injecting genetically engineered plasmid containing the DNA sequence encoding the antigens against which an immune response is sought
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