Bharat Biotech’s Nasal Corona Vaccine Could Be Game Changer

by Shatakshi Gupta

Soon, intranasal vaccine may be introduced in India. Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad-based company that manufactures COVAXIN, is also developing this vaccine. So far, it has been successful on animals in the trials. To examine whether this vaccine is safe for humans, the Expert Committee of India’s Drug Regulator has given permission to Bharat Biotech for Phase-1 clinical trials.

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 The scientific community is very cheerful with the recommendation to try this vaccine on humans. Doctors say that this vaccine will block the way of coronavirus in the body.  The vaccine will be sprayed into the nose with a small needle syringe. Its effect will start in two weeks and it can be given to children easily. In this context, let us know about this nasal vaccine and how it is more beneficial than the existing vaccine?

 What is a nasal vaccine?

 Just as a muscle injected vaccine is called an intramuscular vaccine, similarly a vaccine given by injecting a few drops into the nose is called an intranasal vaccine. It is just like a nasal spray.

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The notable thing is that it does not need to be given by an injection. In simple terms, this vaccine works at the site from where the coronavirus infiltrates the body. The effect of this is quick and effective.

How does this nasal vaccine work and what are its benefits?

Many microbes, including coronaviruses, enter the body via mucosa. The nasal vaccine produces immune response directly in the mucosa.

In simple terms this nasal vaccine deploy soldiers to fight from where the virus infiltrates the body. At present, two doses of vaccine are being given in India at a gap of 28 days. The effect of the present two vaccines starts 14 days after the second dose. On the other hand, the nasal vaccine starts showing effect in 14 days.

This is a single dose vaccine, so tracking is also easy in its case. Its side effects are also lesser than the intramuscular vaccine.  Another major advantage of this is that it will produce lesser bio-waste as in the case of intramuscular vaccine.

What is Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine?

 Bharat Biotech signed an agreement with the University of Washington School of Medicine (WUSM) for the vaccine in September. The pre-clinical trials of this single dose vaccine BBV154 have been conducted in India and the United States. That is, it has been highly successful in laboratory on mice and other animals.

 Phase-I of clinical trials on humans may begin in February. If all goes well, by June this vaccine will complete clinical trials. Then it is likely to be available in the market by August.

How it could be a game changer for India?

 If this vaccine proved effective in trials, then it will be a game changer in the fight against coronaviruses. It is easy to use. It can easily be applied to children. Mild symptoms of corona are found in children, but they can spread infection. The nasal vaccine will be helpful in preventing coronavirus in children. Moreover, this vaccine does not require much training for application as in the case of intramuscular vaccines. So, a large number of people can be immunised in a lesser time period.