Bharat Bio plans Phase-I trials of nasal Covid vaccine by Feb-March

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 08, 2021

Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech   -  Nagara Gopal@thehindu

Seen as a better option due to its ease of administration

Bharat Biotech is gearing to start trials of its intra-nasal Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

When contacted, a company source told BusinessLine: “Mostly, trials will start by February-March.”

Last September, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had entered into a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis for a novel chip retrovirus, single-dose intra-nasal vaccine for Covid-19. Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe.

Phase-I trials will take place at Saint Louis University’s vaccine and treatment evaluation unit.

Bharat Biotech will pursue further clinical trials in India. It also plans to undertake large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine at its GMP facility at Genome Valley here.

Single dose

Krishna M Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, has been vocal on various platforms about the ‘strengths’ of his company in the intra-nasal vaccine segment and the ‘advantages’ of a single dose nasal vaccine as against two-dose injection-based Covid vaccines. If successful, the company hopes to produce one billion doses.

An intra-nasal vaccine is perceived to be a better option for Covid prevention on account of its ease of administration and the speed in covering a large population.

Bharat Biotech had earlier said its intra-nasal vaccine candidate has shown ‘unprecedented’ levels of protection in mice studies.

Currently the two vaccines — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield — approved for emergency use are two-dose vaccines administered with a gap of about three weeks

Bharat Biotech has also almost achieved the target of recruiting 26,000 volunteers for Covaxin’s Phase-III trials, with 25,800 already on board.

Published on January 08, 2021

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