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Bharat Biotech's INCOVACC Becomes World's 1st Nasal COVID Vaccine, For Doses & Boosters

In a massive boost for India's fight against coronavirus, Bharat Biotech's first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine has been cleared for restricted use in emergencies for those above the age of 18 years. The development came after Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) gave its nod to the vaccine for use as both a primary series as well as a heterologous booster.

It is important to note that Bharat Biotech's nasal COVID vaccine is the world’s first intranasal vaccine to receive both primary series and heterologous booster approval. The Hyderabad-based company informed that the vaccine was evaluated in phases I, II and III clinical trials with successful results.

Terming it a great achievement, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech Dr Krishna Ella said, "iNCOVACC is an intranasal vaccine for the primary 2-dose schedule and the heterologous booster dose. This is a great achievement for us and the global scientific community to enable nasal administration of COVID vaccines. Despite the lack of demand for COVID vaccines, we continued product development in intranasal vaccines to ensure that we are well-prepared with platform technologies for future infectious diseases." What is the intranasal vaccine? Based on the novel adenovirus vector, the BBV154 is an intranasal vaccine for COVID-19 which stimulates a broad immune response neutralising IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses. Most importantly, it is effective for blocking both infection and transmission of the Coronavirus. In the nasal approach, the vaccine dose is given via the nose, rather than orally or through the arm. Notably, a total of 400 and 650 individuals participated in its Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials held last year.

Benefits of intranasal vaccine Elaborating on the benefit of intranasal vaccine, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech Krishna Ella was earlier quoted by news agency PTI as saying that any injectable vaccine only protects the lower level (of the body). Therefore, people vaccinated with injectable vaccines may still get RT-PCR positive, whereas the nasal jab protects the whole body. Bharat Biotech has also claimed that its "intranasal vaccine stimulates a broad immune response."

According to Bharat Biotech, the nasal vaccine is:

  1. Likely to block both infection and transmission of COVID-19

  2. Non-invasive and needle-free

  3. Easy to administer as it does not require trained healthcare workers

  4. High compliance, suits children and adults


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