First intranasal Covid vaccine launched in India

Image used for representational purpose. Photo: New Africa / Shutterstock

New Delhi: Developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) in collaboration with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a PSU under the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology iNNCOVACC is the world's first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for the primary 2-dose schedule, and as a heterologous booster dose.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday unveiled iNNCOVACC in the presence of Union Minister of State (IC) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh. Expressing his elation at the event, Mandaviya said that over 65 per cent of vaccines supplied in the world are from India.

Congratulating the BBIL team and the Department of Biotech for bringing about the world's first nasal vaccine, he stated that "being the world's first intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccine, this marks a glorious tribute to the call for Atmanirbhar Bharat."

The Union Health Minister added that India's vaccine manufacturing and innovation capability is appreciated all over the world as it has made a mark in producing quality and affordable medicines. Congratulating BBIL for innovating another vaccine in collaboration with BIRAC, Jitendra Singh said that "India has taken a lead in developing vaccines and medicines for diseases common in the developing world."

He also stated that ZyCoV-D, the world's first and India's indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans including children and adults 12 years and above, was also developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science & Technology under 'Mission COVID Suraksha' through BIRAC.

iNCOVACC is a cost-effective COVID-19 vaccine that does not require syringes, needles, alcohol wipes, bandage, etc, saving costs related to procurement, distribution, storage, and biomedical waste disposal, that is routinely required for injectable vaccines.

It utilises a vector-based platform, which can be easily updated with emerging variants leading to large-scale production, within a few months. These rapid response timelines combined with the ability of cost-effective and easy intranasal delivery, make it an ideal vaccine to address future infectious diseases.

A rollout of iNCOVACC is expected to begin in private hospitals that have placed advance orders. An initial manufacturing capacity of several million doses per annum has been established, this can be scaled up to a billion doses as required. iNCOVACC is priced at Rs 325 per dose for large-volume procurement by State Governments and Government of India.

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