Vaccine major Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) has launched iNCOVACC (BBV154), the world’s first intranasal vaccine for Covid-19.

This needleless vaccine has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops. It works both as a primary series vaccine and as a heterologous booster. The vaccine was formally launched by Union Ministers Mansukh Mandaviya and Jitendra Singh on the occasion of Republic Day in New Delhi.

INCOVACC, available on CoWIN, is priced at ₹800 for private markets and ₹325 for supplies to the Union and State Governments. “With the rollout of iNCOVACC, we have achieved our goal of establishing a novel vaccine delivery platform for intranasal delivery,” Krishna Ella, Executive Chairman of Bharat Biotech, said.

“It proves that India can innovate for itself and for the world. We and the country are well prepared for future Covid-19 variants and future infectious diseases,” he said.

The Hyderabad-based company had received the nod from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) for the vaccine. “Amid growing Covid-19 cases and emerging variants of the highly transmissible virus, a booster dose of the vaccine becomes imperative,” a top official of the company said.

How it works

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,” he said.

By generating immunity in the upper respiratory tract at the portal of entry of the virus, this vaccine has the potential to better limit spread of the virus than other approaches. Washington University licensed the vaccine technology to Bharat Biotech in 2020 for further development.