Central Introducing Incovacc: India’s First Intranasal Covid Vaccine

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Bharat Biotech launched its intranasal vaccine Incovacc nearly one month after it was included in the country’s Covid vaccination campaign. The launch took place on Republic Day in the presence of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Union Science Minister Jitendra Singh.

The vaccine is intended as a third booster dose for individuals who have already received two doses of Covaxin or Covishield. The pricing is set at Rs 325 for the Central government and states with large orders, and Rs 800 for private entities, as confirmed by the company.

Hospitals that have placed advance orders are expected to start administering the needle-less vaccine, which has already been added to the Government’s vaccine management portal, CoWIN.

Minister Mandaviya expressed his pride in launching Incovacc, the world’s first intranasal Covid vaccine, alongside Minister Jitendra Singh on Republic Day. He commended India’s research and innovation capabilities under the leadership of PM Modi and congratulated Bharat Biotech on this achievement.

The intranasal vaccine’s introduction coincides with the country’s low daily case count. The decision was made in late December to increase booster dose coverage due to rising cases in neighboring countries like China and Thailand.

India has administered 22.4 crore precautionary doses so far, with total coverage around 27% across all age groups. Despite a 75-day free vaccination campaign last year, coverage remains relatively low.

Incovacc is the first approved intranasal vaccine for Covid, offering mucosal membrane immunity in the nose and mouth to enhance protection against infection.

Primary vaccine dose coverage exceeds 90% for individuals aged 12 and above.

Dr. Krishna Ella, Executive Chairman of Bharat Biotech, highlighted the significance of launching iNCOVACC as a novel intranasal vaccine delivery platform. He emphasized India’s ability to innovate for domestic and global health challenges.

The vaccine uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus to deliver the Covid spike protein, developed in collaboration with Washington University-St Louis. The vector carrying the spike protein was evaluated in pre-clinical studies by the US University, while Bharat Biotech managed product development and manufacturing.

Mission Covid Suraksha, supported by the Department of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), aided in the development of the vaccine.

Bharat Biotech, known for manufacturing Covaxin, stated that the intranasal vaccine BBV154 could potentially reduce infection and transmission by producing local antibodies in the upper respiratory tract.

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