Bharat Biotech’s first intranasal Covid vaccine to be launched on Jan 26


Bhopal:  The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech developed nasal vaccine – homegrown intranasal COVID-19 vaccine iNCOVACC – will be formally launched on January 26, the company’s chairman and managing director Krishna Ella said here on Saturday.

Interacting with students at the India International Science Festival in Bhopal, Ella also said that the homegrown vaccine for the lumpy skin disease in cattle, Lumpi-ProVacInd, is likely to be launched next month.

“Our nasal vaccine will be officially launched on January 26, on Republic Day,” Ella said, participating in the ‘Face-to-Face with New Frontiers in Science’ segment of the IISF, organised at the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT).

In December, Bharat Biotech had announced that it would sell the intranasal vaccine for Rs 325 per shot for procurement by the government and Rs 800 per shot for private vaccination centres.

Lumpi-ProVacInd, an indigenous vaccine for the lumpy skin disease in cattle, is also likely to be launched next month, Ella added.

The pharmaceutical company, which developed the intramuscular coronavirus inoculation Covaxin, had announced in December that its nasal vaccine would be launched by the fourth week of January, without specifying a date.

iNCOVACC will be priced at Rs 325 per dose for large procurement by the Centre and state governments, and at Rs 800 in private vaccination centres, Bharat Biotech has said. The vaccine will be rolled out as a booster shot for those above 18 years of age, irrespective of the primary vaccination dose. It will be administered to people twice, 28 days apart.

he nasal vaccine was approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in December. Later that month, India’s technical expert committee on immunization, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, recommended it be included as one of the “precautionary dose” adults can take as boosters.

Lumpi-ProVacInd has been jointly developed by the National Research Centre on Equines and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It is a live attenuated vaccine, similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella.

The vaccine provides 100% protection against the lumpy skin disease in cattle, government scientists said. Currently, India is only administering goat pox and sheep pox virus vaccines. These are heterologous vaccines offering only protection of around 60-70% for cattle against the disease, by virtue of all the three viruses belonging to the same capripoxvirus genus.

Clinical trials for the nasal were conducted at nine sites across the country with 875 participants. The vaccine was developed in partnership with Washington University at St Louis, which had designed and developed the recombinant adenoviral vectored construct and evaluated in preclinical studies for efficacy, Bharat Biotech said in an earlier statement.

Ella on Saturday also said that Lumpi-ProVacind, developed by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, is also expected to be launched next month. In September last year, the council had entered into an agreement with Bangaluru-based Biovet, an associate firm of Bharat Biotech, for the commercial production of the vaccine.