Trials of nasal vaccine for COVID will begin soon: Harsh Vardhan

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Pune-based Serum Institute of India will start the trials soon; clinical trails involve people aged between 12 and 99 years, he says.

India could soon have a nasal vaccine for COVID. Two Indian companies plan to start clinical trials of intranasal vaccines, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday (October 18).

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and Pune-based Serum Institute of India have tied up with foreign institutions to make available in India the nasal vaccines they are developing. 

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Bharat Biotech has signed a deal with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for trials of the nasal vaccine candidate the institute is developing. Similarly, Serum Institute of India, has signed an agreement with Codagenix for its nasal vaccine. 

Under its agreement with Washington University’s School of Medicine, Bharat Biotech will conduct trials, produce and market the intranasal vaccine, Vardhan said in his weekly social media webinar called Sunday Samvaad.

Similarly, Codagenix is developing CDX-005, an intranasal vaccine, in collaboration with Serum Institute. The preclinical animal studies are over and Codagenix will start the Phase 1 first-in-human clinical trial in the UK towards the end of the year, he said.

Nasal vaccines are taken through the nose, and it can be administered by anyone with little training. It does not require a doctor or nurse.

Both Bharat Botech and Serum Institute are involved in the development of other vaccine candidates as well.

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While the Hyderabad company is working on a indigenous vaccine, Covaxine, in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research, Serum institute has tied up with AstraZeneca for phases 2 and 3 of clinical trials for a vaccine candidate the Pharma major is developing with Oxford University in the UK.

Vardhan said the clinical trails involved people aged from as young as 12 years to as old as 99 years.

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