India launches 'first nasal' COVID vaccine

Nasal spray vaccinations have also been subject of investigation by research teams in the US and the UK

By Web Desk
January 28, 2023
iNCOVACC, a product of Bharat Biotech, is a nasal drop that triggers an immune response in the tissues lining the nasal cavity.— Twitter/Bharat Biotech

The first nasal COVID vaccination has received approval in India.

A nasal drop called iNCOVACC, made by Bharat Biotech, causes the tissues lining the nasal cavity to mount an immune response. In September 2022, China authorised the use of a spray-based COVID vaccine for inhalation.


Nasal vaccines, researchers say, may offer supplementary immunity in the lining of the nose and upper airways, where COVID typically enters the body.

The effectiveness of nasal spray vaccinations has also been studied by research teams in the US and the UK.

The Indian pharma regulator authorised the use of iNCOVACC as a heterologous booster dosage in emergency situations for people who had previously received two doses of Covishied or Covaxin, the two main Indian vaccines. Its use as a primary vaccine and a booster dose for adults was approved by the drug authorities in December.

For INR 325 per dose in government hospitals and INR 800 per dose in private facilities, the vaccination can be acquired online through a government site. Each dose should be spaced apart by 28 days.

iNCOVACC uses an adenovirus as a delivery system for genetic information teaching the body how to fight the infection. The adenoviruses used as vaccine components are benign transporters that have undergone modifications to thwart infection and multiplication.

The vaccination was "simple to distribute" because it didn't require a syringe or needle, according to Dr Krishna Ella, chairman of Bharat Biotech, and it elicited a greater immune response than injectable COVID vaccines, reported the BBC.

In India, more than two billion COVID doses have already been administered. More than 70% of Indians, according to the government health ministry, have taken at least two dosages.

India began giving boosters to front-line healthcare workers, persons over 60, and those with comorbid diseases in January 2022. It was later made accessible to all adults. The administration of booster doses, however, has been taking place gradually.