India approves emergency use of local nasal anti-Covid vaccine

New Delhi, Sep 6 (EFE).- Indian health authorities on Tuesday authorized the emergency use of the first nasal vaccine against Covid-19 developed in India by local lab Bharat Biotech, even as cases have dropped to their lowest in three months.

The Drugs Controller General of India has approved the restricted emergency use of Bharat Biotech’s recombinant nasal vaccine for adults, Indian health minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Twitter.

The new serum has been prepared by the same firm that developed the first indigenously produced vaccine Covaxin, one of the first to be authorized in India for use against Covid-19.

“This step will further strengthen our collective fight against the pandemic,” Mandaviya said.

In a statement, Bharat Biotech thanked the Indian authorities for their support.

“Despite the lack of demand for COVID-19 vaccines, we continued product development in intra nasal vaccines to ensure that we are well prepared with platform technologies for future infectious diseases,” said Krishna Ella, the chairman of the company, calling the vaccine a “global game changer in intra-nasal vaccine technology and delivery systems.”

He stressed that the vaccine could enable “faster development of variant-specific vaccines” and mass immunizations due to its easy delivery.

“It promises to become an important tool in mass vaccinations during pandemics and endemics. With the receipt of approval today, the product will be launched and available for use in due course of time,” said the statement, underlining Bharat Biotech’s “large manufacturing capabilities” at sites across India.

This is the first nasal vaccine to be produced and administered in the country since it began its ambitious immunization campaign against the coronavirus in January 2021.

Since then, the country has administered more than 2 billion doses of anti-Covid vaccines – including nearly two million in the last 24 hours – marking the second highest figure behind China, which has handed out over 3 billion doses.

The latest approval comes after authorization was granted to vaccines such as AstraZeneca’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Corbevax – developed by another Indian lab Biological-E – apart from Russian Sputnik-V and American serums Moderna, Johnson $ Johnson and Novavax.

Moreover, the authorities had also approved United States-based firm Merck Sharp and Dohme’s pills against Covid-19.

India, known as the “world’s pharmacy” for its sizable pharma industry and being the largest vaccine manufacturer worldwide, had earlier faced serious problems in fulfilling its domestic vaccine demand against Covid-19, especially during its virulent second wave in April-May 2021.

At the time, India had become the global epicenter of the disease with over 450,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths reported daily.

It witnessed another peak during the spread of the Omicron variant in January 2022, with daily caseload crossing 300,000 and putting pressure on the delicate health system in this country of around 1.4 billion people.

In contrast, on Tuesday India reported a little over 4,400 cases and just 22 deaths in the past 24 hours, marking the lowest Covid figures in three months. EFE


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