Published on: December 1, 2022



Why in news?

Bharat Biotech’s intranasal COVID­19 vaccine iNCOVAC has been given emergency use approval as a heterologous booster in adults over 18 years


  • First Nasal Vaccine Developed by Bharat Biotech supported by DBT-BIRAC
  • iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
  • World’s first intranasal vaccine to receive both primary series and heterologous booster approval
  • Developed: Washington University and Bharat Biotech(vaccine has in-licensed technology from Washington University in St Louis, USA.)

What are the key attributes of the vaccine ?

  • An intranasal vaccine stimulates a broad immune response neutralizing Immunoglobulin G(IgG) , mucosal IgA, and T cell responses.
  • Immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa)  essential for blocking both infection and transmission of COVID-19.

What are the advantages of the vaccine ?

  • They can potentially prevent SARS­CoV­2 infection at the point of viral entry in the respiratory tract
  • The nasal route has excellent potential for vaccination due to the organized immune systems of the nasal mucosa.
  • Non-invasive and  Needle-free.
  • Ease of administration and  does not require trained health care workers.
  • Elimination of needle associated risks (injuries and infections).
  • High compliance (Ideally suits for children’s and adults).
  • Scalable manufacturing – able to meet global demand.

What are the challenges ?

  • The intranasal vaccine does not have the virus spike protein with newer mutations
  • It is important to study within a defined time period the effectiveness of the intranasal vaccine to prevent infection and severe disease and death when used as the primary vaccination and as a booster dose.
  • The Oxford vaccine, as an intranasal vaccine, did not elicit “consistent mucosal antibody response nor a strong systemic response
  • The demand for vaccines for primary vaccination has been reducing since the third wave peaked while those for boosters has been low even when available for free

About Department of Biotechnology (DBT)

  • Parent Ministry : Ministry of Science & Technology
  • It promotes and accelerates the development of biotechnology in India, including growth and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment and industry.


  • The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Public Sector Enterprise, set up by DBT, Government of India
  • It is an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation for globally competitive product development to address unmet needs.

About Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL)

  • It is an Indian multinational biotechnology company
  • Headquarter: Hyderabad
  • It is engaged in the drug discovery, drug development, manufacture of vaccines, bio-therapeutics, pharmaceuticals and health care products.
  • Founder: Krishna Ella
  • The company has been responsible for developing an eco-friendly recombinant and a naturally attenuated strain derived Rotavirus vaccine called
  • They were one of the first to develop vaccines for viral diseases like Chikungunya and Zika. The company also produces vaccines for Japanese Encephalitis