India's first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, INCOVACC was launched by Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, and Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday, 26 January.
The vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Washington University, USA, is a recombinant adenoviral vector vaccine.
In December, the vaccine got approval by the Drugs Control General of India to be used as a heterologous booster dose.
On 24 December, the Union Health Minister also announced that the vaccine would be available on CoWIN.
How does the vaccine work? How much will it cost? FIT answers your FAQs.
How does the intranasal vaccine work?
One just has to inhale the vaccine, which will in turn stimulate cellular immunity.
As per WebMD, the spray “causes your immune system to make proteins in your blood and in your nose that help you fight the virus.” This works in the case of coronavirus, as your nose is one of the most common ways the virus enters your body.
There is also a provision to use a nebuliser to change liquid into aerosol, for inhalation through the mouth.
Who can take it?
The vaccine has been approved for adults over the age of 18.
Do I need to go to a clinic or hospital to administer it?
Although the vaccine is said to be available in both private and government hospitals, it is a needle-free vaccine, which means it can be self-administered.
How much will it cost?
The vaccine is reportedly priced at Rs 800 per dose in private hospitals and vaccine centres, and will cost Rs 325 per dose in government run clinics and hospitals.
What are the advantages of an intranasal vaccine?
For one, they are needle-free which makes them painless, and suitable for people who are afraid of needles.
According to Bharat Biotech, the vaccine also triggers an immune response in the nose (the site of COVID-19 infection). This means that the vaccine could potentially also cut transmission.