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Last Updated : Sep 23, 2020 11:38 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine: Bharat Biotech enters licensing pact with Washington University School of Medicine for distribution

While the Phase I trials will take place in St. Louis University’s Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.


Bharat Biotech, on September 23, said it had entered into a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis for a novel chimp-adenovirus, single dose intranasal vaccine for COVID-19.

Bharat Biotech owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except USA, Japan and Europe.

While the Phase I trials will take place in St. Louis University’s Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the required regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.

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An intranasal vaccine will not only be simple to administer but reduce the use of medical consumables such as needles, syringes, etc., significantly impacting the overall cost of a vaccination drive.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"We envision that we will scale this vaccine to 1 billion doses, translating to 1 billion individuals vaccinated receiving a single-dose regimen," said Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director - Bharat Biotech.

"Our experience in viral vaccines, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution continue to be our strong suit in ensuring safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines. It is prudent for Bharat to be involved in diverse but tenable projects to provide a much-needed vaccine against COVID-19 reaches all citizens of the world,” Ella added.

The intranasal vaccine candidate has shown unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies; the technology and data having been recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell and in an editorial in Nature.

“The ability to accomplish effective immunization with a single nasal dose is a major advantage, offering broader reach and easier administration," said Dr. David T. Curiel, MD, Ph.D., Director of Biologic Therapeutics Center and Professor of Radiation Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Precision Virologics Interim CEO said,

"An effective nasal dose not only protects against COVID-19, but it also prevents the spread of the disease by offering another kind of immunity that occurs primarily in the cells that line the nose and throat. Most other vaccine candidates currently under development can’t do that,” Curiel added.

This vaccine expands Bharat’s portfolio of vaccines that are currently being developed and are in various stages of clinical development including Covaxin which is currently in Phase II human clinical trials in India.
First Published on Sep 23, 2020 11:38 am
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