Vaccine maker Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) will make its Covid-19 nasal vaccine available for ₹800 in private markets and for ₹325 for government supplies. The iNCOVACC vaccine received Indian drug regulator's approval to be used as a booster dose for the adult population.
Clinical trials were conducted to evaluate iNCOVACC as a primary dose schedule, and as heterologous booster dose for subjects who have previously received two doses of the two commonly administered Covid-19 vaccines (COVISHIELD and COVAXIN) in India.
iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication-deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion-stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. This vaccine candidate was evaluated in phases I, II and III clinical trials with successful results. iNCOVACC has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops. The nasal delivery system has been designed and developed to be cost-effective in low- and middle-income countries, a company statement said.
"We have achieved the goals we set for ourselves during this pandemic. We have developed COVAXIN and iNCOVACC, two COVID vaccines from two different platforms, with two different delivery systems. The vectored intranasal delivery platform gives us the capability for rapid product development, scale-up, easy and painless immunisation during public health emergencies and pandemics. We thank the Ministry of Health, CDSCO, Dept of Biotechnology, Govt of India, Technology Development Board, and Washington University, St Louis, for their support and guidance," Krishna Ella, executive chairman, BBIL said.
As a needle-less vaccination, iNCOVACC will be India's first such booster dose. India will now have more options when it comes to third doses or precautionary doses. The company claims that iNCOVACC's manufacturing platform has the double benefit of enabling faster development of variant-specific vaccines and easy nasal delivery that enables mass immunisation to protect from emerging variants of concern.
iNCOVACC was developed in partnership with Washington University, St. Louis, which had designed and developed the recombinant adenoviral vectored construct and evaluated in preclinical studies for efficacy. Product development related to preclinical safety evaluation, large-scale manufacturing scale-up, formulation and delivery device development, including human clinical trials were conducted by Bharat Biotech. Product development and clinical trials were funded in part by the Government of India, through the Department of Biotechnology’s, COVID Suraksha Programme.