Nasal vaccine for Covid-19: Will it be a game-changer as new cases rise?
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023
Covid-19 continues to cast a shadow over many countries, causing concern among authorities in India. In anticipation of the ongoing coronavirus scare, the Indian government has approved the use of nasal vaccines for Covid-19. Reports suggest that India is the first country in the world to provide emergency authorization for this innovative approach. As vaccination remains the best defense against this virulent disease, it is essential to consider receiving the booster dose after the initial two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine.
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Curious about what the nasal vaccine entails and how it works? Let’s dive into it! Health Shots approached Dr. Suruchi Mandrekar, a consultant internal medicine at Manipal Hospitals in Baner-Pune, to shed light on the topic.
What Exactly is the Nasal Vaccine for Covid-19?
For those unfamiliar with it, the Indian government approved the use of nasal vaccines for Covid-19. These vaccines will serve as heterologous boosters. The vaccine, named iNCOVACC, will be incorporated into the Co-win portal for emergency access. Additionally, private institutions will also offer the nasal coronavirus vaccine as part of their vaccination campaigns.
“The nasal vaccine is similar to Covaxine and belongs to the vector vaccine category. An adenovirus is genetically modified in a way that ensures immunity without causing any harm,” Dr. Suruchi Mandrekar explains.
As per reports, two doses of the nasal vaccine will be administered as the primary and booster doses, with a 28-day interval between them.
How Does the Covid Nasal Vaccine Function?
Traditionally, vaccines were administered via injections containing liquid substances directly into the nerves. However, Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech has introduced the Covid nasal vaccine, which is delivered through the nose.
Dr. Mandrekar clarifies, “The recently introduced nasal vaccine will serve as an excellent booster dose to enhance immunity. It also targets the nasal area, the main gateway for the entry of the Covid virus into the body. Currently, we have conducted Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials, and we are eagerly awaiting its impact on the wider population.”
Nasal Vaccines: Effective Against New Variants
With new variants emerging as key players in countries like China, the USA, and the UK, India has strengthened its restrictions to keep the virus under control, as it has successfully done over the past year. The introduction of new booster shots could be a game-changer amidst rising concerns.
Highlighting the efficacy of the nasal vaccine, Dr. Mandrekar states, “Considering the emergence of new variants, this nasal vaccine will prove highly effective. As a significant portion of our population has already been vaccinated, this sub-variant of Omicron is unlikely to pose a severe threat, as our immunity has already developed against the virus.”
Are There Any Side Effects of the Nasal Vaccine?
Since the nasal vaccine is administered through the nose, Dr. Mandrekar affirms that it is a positive step towards combating the virus, with no reported side effects during the Phase 2 clinical trials.
She adds that the nasal vaccine will be given as a booster dose, meaning individuals who have previously been vaccinated without experiencing any side effects are unlikely to encounter them now.
In the meantime, it is crucial to follow preventive measures such as wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and practicing proper hand hygiene. These simple actions can go a long way in safeguarding ourselves and our communities.