Bharat Bio completes Phase II trial of intranasal Covid vaccine

G Naga Sridhar | | | Updated on: Nov 28, 2021
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Antidote capable of stopping virus transmission, says CMD Krishna Ella

If all goes well, the world’s first intranasal Covid vaccine from Bharat Biotech International may be ready soon. “We have completed Phase II trials of our Covid nasal vaccine,” Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech, told Business Line.

Stating that it will be a significant step forward, Ella said: “Its going to be a lot of new science, which even the Western world is not aware of, and that’s the reason we are keeping details confidential. The nasal vaccine can stop virus transmission.”

Risk of transmission

According to experts, the intramuscular vaccine administration through injection does produce antibodies, but there is still a risk of transmission, which can be eliminated through the intranasal method.

The regulatory approval for Phase II clinical trials of the nasal vaccine candidate was granted to the company in August 2021 after successful results of the Phase 1 trials, which was conducted on 400 healthy individuals aged between 18 and 20 years. In Phase II, about 650 volunteers participated in trials conducted in 10 centres across the country.

Bharat Biotech is now working on conducting Phase III trials of the intranasal vaccine candidate, BBV154, which is an intranasal replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus SARS-CoV-2 vectored vaccine. This is being made using a new technology licensed from Washington University.

The Hyderabad-based vaccine maker is working on a cocktail approach of administering two doses of two different vaccines using a combination of intramuscular and nasal in an ‘innovative’ approach.

Covaxin, the fist desi Covid vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech, in association with Indian Council of Medical Research, is now being administered in the public vaccination programs, along with Serum Institute’s Covishield.

Last month, the SEC of Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) recommended Covaxin for emergency use authorisation for use in children. The DCGI is yet to give its final approval; the Centre is expected to release guidelines for vaccination of children soon.

Published on November 28, 2021

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