Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has lauded “Team Biotech” for the world’s first Nasal Vaccine.
He said, as Minister Incharge Science & Technology, he was proud of the fact that the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry and its PSU, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance (BIRAC) had made the major contribution in developing the world’s first Intranasal vaccine for Covid through Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL).
Dr Jitendra Singh gave full credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making this possible and said PM Modi’s personal intervention and regular monitoring inspired and enabled the launching of “Mission Covid Suraksha” which has not only strengthened AtmaNirbhar Bharat but also bolstered India’s status as a worldwide vaccine development and manufacturing centre, thus showcasing the strength of India’s Science and Technology capabilities. It is a moment of great pride for every Indian, he said.
The Minister elaborated that the product development and clinical trials were funded by the Department of Biotechnology and BIRAC under “Mission Covid Suraksha”. This vaccine received approval under restricted use in emergency situations for ages 18 and above for primary two-dose schedule, homologous booster doses, he added.
National Institute of Immunology (NII) New Delhi, an autonomous institute under the Department of Biotechnology utilised its “Human Immune Monitoring and T-cell Immunoassay Platform” to examine the vaccine-induced SARS-CoV-2-specific systemic and mucosal cellular immune responses in the trial participants.
Interactive Research School for Health Affairs (IRSHA), Pune (supported by DBT BIRAC) completed the “Plaque Reduction Neutralization Assay” (PRNT) to quantify the titer of neutralising antibodies for the virus from three trial sites.
The vaccine is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised spike protein. This vaccine candidate was evaluated in Phases I, II and III clinical trials with successful results. It has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops. The vaccine is stable at 2-8°C for easy storage and distribution.
Pertinent to mention that earlier, ZyCoV-D, the world’s first and India’s indigenously developed DNA based vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered in humans including children and adults 12 years and above was also developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in the Ministry of Science & Technology under ‘Mission Covid Suraksha’ through BIRAC, a PSU of DBT.