India has approved its first nasal Covid vaccine. Manufactured by Bharat Biotech and administered in infusion form, iNCOVACC stimulates an immune response in the tissues lining the nasal cavity.In September 2022, China approved an inhaled Covid vaccine administered in foam or spray. Scientists say nasal vaccines could provide additional immunity to the lining of the nose and upper respiratory tract, where Covid normally enters the body.
Research teams in the UK and the US have also been investigating nasal spray vaccines. In November, India’s drug regulator approved the use of iNCOVACC as a heterologous booster dose – a booster for people who had previously received two doses of Covishied or Covaxin, the two main Indian vaccines – in emergency situations among adults. In December, it was approved by the drug regulator as a primary vaccine and as a subsequent booster shot in adults.
The vaccine will cost 800 rupees ($10; £8) per dose in private hospitals and 325 rupees per dose in government hospitals and can be booked on the government’s online platform. Two doses are to be taken 28 days apart. iNCOVACC uses an adenovirus as a carrier for the genetic code that teaches the body how to fight the infection. Adenoviruses used in vaccines are harmless transporters that have been modified so they cannot replicate or cause infection.
India has so far delivered more than 2 billion Covid vaccinations. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, more than 70% of the population in India has received at least two doses of her. In January 2022, India began distributing boosters to health workers, frontline workers, and those over 60 with comorbidities. It has since been expanded to all adults. However, the pace of booster doses administered was slow.