Covid-19: India completes clinical development of new intranasal vaccine

Nasal delivery system is designed to be cost-effective in low, middle-income countries

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Published: Mon 15 Aug 2022, 5:07 PM

Bharat Biotech International on Monday said that BBV154 (intranasal vaccine) has proven to be safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic in subjects in controlled clinical trials.

This vaccine candidate was evaluated earlier in phase I and II clinical trials with successful results. BBV154 has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery. In addition, the nasal delivery system has been designed and developed to be cost-effective in low and middle-income countries.

BBV154 was developed in partnership with Washington University St Louis, which had designed and developed the recombinant adenoviral vectored constructs and evaluated them in preclinical studies for efficacy. Product development related to preclinical safety evaluation, large-scale manufacturing scale-up, formulation, and delivery device development, including human clinical trials, were conducted by Bharat Biotech. The Government of India partly funded product development and clinical trials through the Department of Biotechnology's COVID Suraksha programme.

Two separate and simultaneous clinical trials were conducted to evaluate BBV154 as a primary dose (2-dose) schedule; and a heterologous booster dose for subjects who have previously received 2 doses of the two commonly administered Covid-19 vaccines in India.

Data from both Phase III human clinical trials have been submitted for approval to National Regulatory Authorities.

Primary dose schedule phase III trials were conducted for safety, and immunogenicity in 3100 subjects, and compared with COVAXINO. The trials were conducted in 14 trial sites across India.

Being an intranasal vaccine, BBV154 may produce local antibodies in the upper respiratory tract which may provide the potential to reduce infection and transmission. Further studies are being planned.

At the start of the pandemic, Bharat Biotech commenced work on 4 platform technologies, the Vero cell inactivated platform, and the adenoviral vector platform have been developed.

"On this 76th Independence Day, we are proud to announce the successful completion of clinical trials for the BBV154 intranasal vaccine. We stay committed and focused on innovation and product development; this is yet another achievement for the multidisciplinary teams at Bharat Biotech. If approved, this intranasal vaccine will make it easier to deploy in mass immunization campaigns with an easy-to-administer formulation and delivery device," said Suchitra K. Ella, Joint Managing Director, Bharat Biotech.

"Vectored vaccines also enable faster development of targeted vaccines in response to emerging variants of concern. We hereby thank the volunteers, principal investigators, and clinical trial personnel for all their efforts," Ella said.

BBV154 has the double benefit of enabling faster development of variant-specific vaccines and easy nasal delivery that helps mass immunization protect from emerging concern variants. It promises to become an important tool in mass vaccinations during pandemics and endemics. It is also stable at 2-8°C for easy storage and distribution.


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