In a significant development, the Indian pharmaceutical regulator has authorized the use of iNCOVACC, a nasal drop vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, as a heterologous booster dosage in emergency situations for individuals who have previously received two doses of Covishied or Covaxin. Furthermore, the drug authorities have also approved its use as a primary vaccine and a booster dose for adults.
iNCOVACC, which is administered as a nasal drop, is designed to cause the tissues lining the nasal cavity to mount an immune response. Researchers believe that nasal vaccines may offer supplementary immunity in the lining of the nose and upper airways, where the COVID-19 virus typically enters the body. The effectiveness of nasal spray vaccinations has also been studied by research teams in the US and the UK.
Dr. Krishna Ella, Chairman of Bharat Biotech, said that the vaccination was “simple to distribute” because it didn’t require a syringe or needle, and it elicited a greater immune response than injectable COVID vaccines. The vaccine uses an adenovirus as a delivery system for genetic information that teaches the body how to fight the infection. Vaccines derived from adenoviruses components are benign transporters that have undergone modifications to thwart infection and multiplication.
The vaccine can be acquired online through a government site at INR 325 per dose in government hospitals and INR 800 per dose in private facilities. Each dose should be spaced apart by 28 days.
The government health ministry reports that more than 70% of Indians have taken at least two doses of COVID-19. However, booster doses have been gradually administered.
Beginning in January 2022, India began providing boosters to front-line healthcare workers, elderly individuals, and those with comorbid diseases. Adults were later made eligible for the program. There is hope for a more effective and efficient vaccination process as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.