India’s first intra-nasal vaccine – delivered through the nose instead of a shot in the arm – has received approval from the country’s apex drug regulator for emergency use in adults. The vaccine, which has been developed by Bharat Biotech with technology in-licensed from Washington University-St Louis, has been approved for primary immunisation, meaning it can be given to the unimmunised to protect against COVID-19.
“Big Boost to India’s Fight Against COVID-19! Bharat Biotech’s ChAd36-SARS-CoV-S COVID-19 (Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vectored) recombinant nasal vaccine approved by @CDSCO_INDIA_INF for primary immunisation against COVID-19 in 18+ age group for restricted use in emergency situation,” said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in a tweet.
NO NEED FOR NEEDLES
With the vaccine being delivered through a nasal spray, it will do away with the need for needles and syringes currently required for all the COVID-19 vaccines available. It will also reduce dependence on personnel trained to give shots.
TRIALS FOR BOOSTER
The company found the vaccine to be “safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic” when compared to its own Covaxin in a phase III trial of nearly 3,100 participants across 14 sites in India. The company has also conducted a trial with 875 participants to see whether the vaccine may be used as a booster in those who have received Covaxin or Covishield as their primary vaccine.
WHY NASAL SPRAY CAN BE EFFECTIVE
As the vaccine is given nasally, it triggers an immune response in the mucosal membrane. The company said, “Being an intranasal vaccine, BBV154 may produce local antibodies in the upper respiratory tract which may provide the potential to reduce infection and transmission.”
The Minister also said, “This step will further strengthen our collective fight against the pandemic. India has harnessed its science, R&D, and human resources in the fight against COVID-19 under PM @NarendraModi Ji’s leadership. With the science-driven approach & Sabka Prayas, we will defeat COVID-19.”