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Health minister unveils India’s first intra-nasal COVID vaccine

iNNCOVACC is the world’s first intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for the primary two-dose schedule, and as a heterologous booster dose

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Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya unveiled the iNNCOVACC COVID-19 vaccine yesterday in the presence of Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (IC), Science and Technology. iNNCOVACC is the world’s first intra-nasal COVID-19 vaccine to receive approval for the primary two-dose schedule, and as a heterologous booster dose. It is developed by Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Speaking at the event, Dr Mandaviya said that over 65 per cent of vaccines supplied in the world are from India. Congratulating the Bharat Biotech team and DBT for bringing about the world’s first nasal vaccine, he stated that “being the world’s first intra-nasal COVID19 vaccine, this marks a glorious tribute to the call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

The minister added that India’s vaccine manufacturing and innovation capability is appreciated all over the world as it has made a mark in producing quality and affordable medicines. He also highlighted that Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), introduced Covaxin in India within a month of the launch of first COVID vaccine in the world.

Congratulating Bharat Biotech for innovating another vaccine, in collaboration with BIRAC, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “India has taken a lead in developing vaccines and medicines for diseases common in the developing world. Next step would be to develop vaccines for non-communicable diseases.”

He also stated that ZyCoV-D, the world’s first and India’s indigenously developed DNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 to be administered in humans, including children and adults aged 12 years and above, was also developed in partnership with the DBT in the Ministry of Science and Technology under ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ through BIRAC.

iNCOVACC utilises a vector-based platform, which can be easily updated with emerging variants leading to large-scale production, within a few months. These rapid response timelines combined with the ability of cost-effective and easy intra-nasal delivery, make it an ideal vaccine to address future infectious diseases.

A rollout of iNCOVACC is expected to begin in private hospitals that have placed advance orders. Initial manufacturing capacity of several million doses per annum has been established, this can be scaled up to a billion doses as required. iNCOVACC is priced at Rs 325/dose for large volume procurement by state governments and the Centre.

Edits by EP News Bureau

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