India’s First Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine to Be Available on CoWIN: What to Know

Bharat Biotech's intranasal COVID vaccine was approved for use as a booster in November.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad

Bharat Biotech's intranasal COVID vaccine will be available on CoWIN, and can be taken as a booster dose, said the Union Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, on 24 December.

iNCOVACC, India's first intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, was approved for use as a heterologous booster dose by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on 28 November.

What this means is that the intranasal vaccine called iNCOVACC can now be taken as a booster dose after primary doses of other approved COVID vaccines in India.

The vaccine was approved for restricted use in emergency situation in 18+ age group, in September this year.


In the same month, China's National Medical Products Administration gave its nod to CanSino’s Ad5-nCoV for emergency use as a booster dose – making it the first country to approve an inhaled version of COVID-19 vaccine.

How much do we know about the Bharat Biotech's nasal vaccine? FIT answers your FAQs.

How does a nasal 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.

Is this vaccine self-administered?

Yes. This vaccine is a needle-free vaccine, and can be self-administered.


When will it be available? Will there be side effects?

There is no clarity on when the vaccine will be available. Speaking about the intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, Bharat Biotech on 15 August said, “BBV154 has proven to be safe, well-tolerated & immunogenic in subjects in controlled clinical trials."

The intranasal vaccine is the first of its kind COVID-19 vaccine to undergo human trials in India.

What are the benefits of intranasal vaccine?

According to National Library of Medicine, intranasal vaccination provides protection to the nasal passage whereas intramuscular vaccination primarily focuses on systemic immune response.

Intranasal vaccines are also simpler to use and can be easily administered to children and elderly patients.

Since it is needle-free, it is less painful and non-invasive.

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