India could get nasal vaccine against Covid-19 soon, trials set to begin in Nagpur

A nasal Covid-19 vaccine could be a reality in India soon with Bharat Biotech, the Indian vaccine maker, all set to start phase 1 and 2 trials of the nasal vaccine at Gillurkar Multi Speciality Hospital in Nagpur.

Bharat Biotech’s head Dr Krishna Ella said on Thursday, “We are working on a nasal vaccine and have partnered with the Washington University School of Medicine. We are working on a single dose vaccine compare to the two-dose inactivated vaccine. Research has proven that the nasal vaccine is the best choice. Coronavirus also attacks through the nose.”

“We are all set to host the trials for the nasal Covaxin in the next two weeks. Enough scientific evidence is available that vaccines given through nasal route are more effective than injected ones. Bharat Biotech is in the process to submit a proposal to the DCGI shortly,” said Dr Chandrashekar Gillurkar.

The trials will be conducted on at least 30-45 healthy volunteers above the age of 18 till the age of 65 years at four trial sites in the country — Bhuvneshwar, Pune, Nagpur and Hyderabad.

Presently, Bharat Biotech is working on two intranasal vaccines — one with US-based vaccine maker FluGen and scientists from the University of Wisconsin Madison and the other with the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Experts say that the nasal variant of the Covid-19 vaccine, which is currently under trial in the US, if successful, could play a major role in stopping transmission of the virus.