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Bharat Biotech’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine 'BBV154'

 ·  ☕ 3 min read  ·  🤯 Siddh Mistry · 👀... views

What you need to know about Bharat Biotech’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine ‘BBV154’?

Vaccination

Hyderabad: Bharat Biotech on Friday announced that it will begin the phase1 clinical trials of its new intranasal vaccine for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in February-March this year. The development came days after the Hyderabad-based firm received the Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) nod for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin. Covaxin, which is India’s first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, has been given restricted (emergency use) approval for use along with Serum Institute’s Covishield developed by the Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca.

Earlier in September, Bharat Biotech announced that it has partnered with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis for a novel intranasal coronavirus vaccine (BBV154). The phase 1 human clinical trials of the nasal COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted in India and Saint Louis University’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit. And here’s what we know so far about the company’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine.

BBV154 to be a single-dose regimen

Bharat Biotech’s BBV154 (a novel adenovirus vectored, intranasal vaccine for COVID-19) will be a single-dose regimen. According to the company, an intranasal vaccine stimulates broad immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa), which is essential for blocking both infection and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Non-invasive, needle-free

Another advantage of an intranasal vaccine is that it is simple to administer - the jab is administered to a person via the nose and does not require a needle or trained healthcare workers to give the vaccine. This also means eliminating needle-associated risks such as injuries and infections. The vaccine is also ideally suitable for children and adults.

“An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles, syringes, etc., significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive,” Dr Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, had said.

“One drop of vaccine in each of the nostrils is sufficient,” he had said.

Demonstrates protective efficacy

The company said its intranasal vaccine candidate has demonstrated unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies - with the technology and data having been published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell and in an editorial in Nature.

“Mice and hamsters immunized with a single dose of ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S conferred superior protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge, more so than one or two intramuscular immunizations of the same vaccine and dose. Post-challenge with SARS-CoV-2, viral clearance was observed in both lower and upper airways. Thus, intranasal immunization of ChAd-SARS-CoV-2-S can create an immune response in the nose, which is the point of entry for the virus - thereby protecting against disease, infection, and transmission,” the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech has successfully completed enrollment of 25,800 volunteers for the crucial, phase 3 trials of Covaxin developed indigenously in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV). The vaccine innovator said Covaxin is a highly purified and inactivated 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured in a Vero cell manufacturing platform with an excellent safety track record of more than 300 million doses.

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