Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine on CoWIN app today: How it works, where can you get it?
Bharat Biotech's intranasal Covid vaccine has been approved by the Union Health Ministry as a booster dose for those aged 18 years and above and is likely to be introduced on the Co-WIN platform Friday evening. "The government of India has approved the Nasal vaccine. It will be used as a heterologous booster and will be available first in private hospitals. It will be included in Covid vaccination program from today," official sources said. Here is all you need to know about the new vaccines.
What is the new nasal vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech?
iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication-deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised spike protein. This vaccine candidate was evaluated in phase I, II and III clinical trials with successful results
Clinical trials were conducted to evaluate iNCOVACC as a primary dose schedule as well as a heterologous booster dose for subjects who have previously received two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin.
How do the nasal sprays work?
The vaccine has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops.
Are nasal vaccines better than conventional shots?
The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use though reduce the severity of the infection, they don’t block mild illness or transmission that well. This is probably because the vaccines are injected into muscles.
A report published in Nature points out, Nature report said, “Intramuscular shots prompt an immune response that includes T cells, which destroy infected cells, and B cells, which produce antibodies that ‘neutralize’ pathogens. "
These antibodies circulate through the bloodstream and aren't high enough levels in the nose and lungs to provide rapid protection. Meanwhile, nasals can not only prompt a whole-body immune response, but they can also activate immune cells in the mucosal tissue of the nose and respiratory tract.
But the challenge is ensuring that the compound stays in the nasal lining long enough.
“Your nose and throat are inherently designed to get rid of things," says Wendy Barclay, a virologist at Imperial College London told Nature. “You try putting something in there, and your nose runs and flushes it out."
How will we get access to the nasal vaccines?
The needle-free vaccine will be available at private hospitals as of now and it is likely to be rolled out in the national Covid vaccination programme soon. The CoWIN platform will also be modified in this regard.
Currently, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Serum Institute’s Covishield and Covovax, Russian Sputink V and Biological E Ltd’s Corbevax are listed in the CoWin portal.