Intranasal vaccine BBV154 is being developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

New Delhi: Indian vaccine developer Bharat Biotech is working towards developing a nasal vaccine against the deadly Covid-19 virus. This, according to medical experts, may be a game-changer in the field of vaccination against a virus that has claimed around 1.5 lakh lives in India.
The intranasal vaccine BBV154, which is being developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, will be a game-changer in the field of vaccines since it can be administered directly through spraying or squirting the solution into the nostrils, unlike traditional vaccines that have to be injected into muscles or tissues.
The intranasal vaccine can also be self-administered since it does not require any injection or needles that need to be inserted into the body and would be like any other regular nasal spray that one uses in a nose congestion and would, therefore, minimise the use of healthcare professionals in the vaccination process. The company also claims that the intranasal vaccine, if successfully developed, can provide immunity to a large section of the population in a very short span of time.

The target of this vaccine is to deliver the dose directly through the respiratory pathway—the nose and the mucous membrane present in the upper throat will absorb the dose and create an immune response and create antibodies. Doctors say, since it is directly sprayed on the mucous membrane, the absorption is much faster, thus leading to a faster immune response.
According to Bharat Biotech and in their technical language, “The Intranasal vaccine will stimulate a broad immune response once sprayed in an individual’s nose that will neutralize the IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses and create an Immune response at the site of infection which is in the nasal mucosa that is essential for blocking both infection and transmission of Covid-19.”
The company also claims that the vaccine will not only help trigger an immune response against the virus in the body, but will also help reduce the transmission significantly.
Bharat Biotech has also said that they have chosen to develop an intranasal vaccine since their research has proven that the nasal route has excellent potential of vaccination because of the organised immune system of the nasal mucosa.

The intranasal vaccine will help India overcome the cumbersome efforts of healthcare workers to vaccinate a large number of people in a short span of time, since this vaccine will not need any injection that would be needed to be inserted into the human body and can just be used by spraying the solution into the nasal passage of humans.
The vaccine will also cut down the barriers of delivering and storing traditional vaccines which usually require a huge ecosystem.
Not only this, since the vaccine is intranasal, it will help reduce the use of syringes, needles and other components such as alcohol swabs and a medical setup to administer traditional vaccines, therefore saving time and resources.
Bharat Biotech also claims that since BBV154 is a non-invasive vaccine it also eliminates needle-related injuries and infections. Moreover, this would be a single dose, two-drop vaccine and, therefore, no one has to come back for a booster dose.

This vaccine has been developed on the lines of the Covishield vaccine that has been developed by the Serum Institute. It has used the same adenovirus, which is a common virus found in chimpanzees. It would be an inactivated vaccine.
The company, which has so far conducted clinical trials on animals with this vaccine, has claimed that this vaccine has proved to provide “superior” protection against the Covid-19 virus. The vaccine has undergone trial in mice and hamsters who were immunised with a single dose of this vaccine and the results of which were seen to be “providing viral clearance in both lower and upper airways in all these animal models”, the company said.
Bharat Biotech, which had applied for Phase I and Phase II of clinical trials in India, has received the go-ahead for Phase I clinical trial of this vaccine by the Drug Controller General of India and is soon likely to start its Phase I clinical trials in humans.
The company is likely to recruit 75 individuals on whom this vaccine would be tried and a report on the study of Phase I trials would be provided to the Drug Controller General of India after which, if successful, it would undergo further trials.