India launches ‘first nasal’ COVID vaccine
India launches ‘first nasal’ COVID vaccine. The nasal drop, called INCOVACC, made by Bharat Biotech, causes the tissues lining the nasal cavity to mount an immune response. In September 2022, China authorized the use of a spray-based COVID vaccine for inhalation.
Researchers say the nasal vaccines may provide complementary immunity to the lining of the nose and upper airways, where COVID usually enters the body.
The effectiveness of nasal spray vaccination has also been studied by research teams in the US and UK.
The Indian pharma regulator has authorized the use of iNCOVACC as a heterologous booster dose in emergency situations for people who had previously received two doses of Covachid or Covaxin, the two main Indian vaccines. Its use as a primary vaccine and a booster dose for adults was approved by drug authorities in December.
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The vaccination can be obtained online through the government site, for INR 325 per dose in government hospitals and INR 800 per dose in private facilities. There should be a gap of 28 days between each dose.
iNCOVACC uses an adenovirus as a delivery system for genetic information that teaches the body how to fight infection. Adenoviruses used as vaccine components are benign transporters that have undergone modifications to thwart infection and multiplication.
According to Dr Krishna Ella, chairman of Bharat Biotech, the vaccination was “easier to deliver” as it did not require syringes or needles, and it elicited a higher immune response than injectable COVID vaccines, BBC reports.
In India, more than two billion Covid doses have already been administered. According to the government health ministry, more than 70% of Indians have taken at least two doses.
India started giving boosters to frontline health workers, persons above 60 years of age and people with co-morbid diseases in January 2022. It was later made accessible to all adults. However, the administration of booster doses is taking place gradually.