India launched the world’s first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine

iNCOVACC, a product of Bharat Biotech, is delivered as drops and triggers an immune response in the tissues lining the nasal canal. It is based on technology licensed from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in the U.S. Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) is one of the leading innovation and developer of vaccine makers for infectious diseases. According to the company, iNCOVACC was examined in phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials that involved over 3,000 people with positive results.

 The nasal vaccination, which was introduced on January 26, 2023, was first known as BBV154 and is now marketed by Bharat Biotech as iNCOVACC. It is the world’s first intranasal COVID vaccine for primary series and heterologous booster. It is administered in the form of drops in the nose that triggers an immunological response in the mucous membranes of the tissues lining the nasal cavity, upper airways, and lungs and is administered as drops in the nose.  The first site of infection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the nasal cavity.

The use of iNCOVACC as a heterologous booster dose was approved by India’s drug regulator in November 2022. A heterologous booster vaccine is given to persons who have already had two doses of Covishield or Covaxin, the two most popular Indian COVID vaccines. A booster dose of the vaccination is now required due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of new forms of the highly transmissible virus. It is a low-cost COVID vaccine that does not require syringes, needles, alcohol wipes, bandages, or other consumables, saving money on procurement, distribution, storage, and biomedical waste disposal, which is typically necessary for injectable vaccines. The nasal route has exceptional vaccination potential due to the well-organized immune systems of the nasal mucosa. Immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa) are crucial for avoiding Covid-19 infection and transmission. The vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8°C.

A spray-based inhaled Covid vaccination was authorized in China in September 2022. The lining of the nose and upper airways, where Covid generally enters the body, may benefit from additional immunity, according to scientists, if nasal vaccines are administered. Nasal spray vaccinations have also been the subject of research teams in the US and the UK.

iNCOVACC uses an adenovirus as a transporter for the genetic coding that directs the body on how to combat the infection. Adenoviruses used in vaccines are harmless carriers that have been engineered so that they cannot replicate or infect humans.

In government hospitals, this vaccine will cost INRs 325 ($4) and INRs 800 ($9.80), respectively.

The ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 infection need the development of new prevention methods. In this scenario, this vaccine has the potential to inhibit the transmission of the virus more effectively than other techniques because it generates immunity in the upper respiratory tract, where the virus enters. Ease of administration, cold chain independence, immunity at the site of infection, convenience, and increased accessibility are the several potential benefits to developing a nasal spray vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

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