India launches world’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine
Imphal: India has launched world’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine iNNCOVACC developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) in collaboration with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance (BIRAC), a PSU under the department of Biotechnology, ministry of Science and Technology, on Republic Day at New Delhi.
Union minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya unveiled the vaccine in the presence of Union minister of State (IC) for Science and Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh.
iNNCOVACC is the world’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine to receive approval for the primary 2-dose schedule, and as a heterologous booster dose.
Dr Mandaviya said over 65 percent of vaccines supplied in the world are from India. Congratulating the BBIL team and the department of Biotech 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 Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
The Union Health 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 BBIL in collaboration with ICMR introduced COVAXIN in India within a month of the launch of first Covid vaccine in the world.
Congratulating BBIL for innovating another vaccine in collaboration with BIRAC, Dr Jitendra Singh said that “India has taken a lead in developing vaccines and medicines for diseases common in the developing world”. He credited Prime Minister’s personal intervention and regular monitoring for inspiring and enabling the launching of “Mission Covid Suraksha” which has not only strengthened AatmaNirbhar Bharat but also bolstered India’s status as a worldwide vaccine development and manufacturing centre, thus showcasing the strength of India’s Science and Technology capabilities. “Next step would be to develop vaccines for non-communicable diseases”, he added.
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 12 years and above, was also developed in partnership with the department of Biotechnology in the ministry of Science and Technology under ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ through BIRAC.
iNCOVACC is a cost effective covid vaccine which does not require syringes, needles, alcohol wipes, bandage, etc, saving costs related to procurement, distribution, storage, and biomedical waste disposal, that is routinely required for injectable vaccines. It utilizes 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 intranasal delivery, makes 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 per dose for large volume procurement by state governments and Government of India.
Dr Rajesh Gokhale, secretary, department of Biotechnology, Rajesh Kumar Pathak, secretary, Technology Development Board and other senior officials of the ministry were present on the occasion. Dr Krishna Ella, co-founder and executive chairman, Bharat Biotech and Suchitra Ella, co-founder and MD, Bharat Biotech were also present.