Bharat Biotech’s intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to enter the Phase II portion of a Phase II/III study within the next few weeks. This marks the second vaccine against the novel coronavirus developed by the India-based company.
It’s a significant milestone for intranasal formulations. The nod from India’s Health Authority makes Bharat’s BBV154 candidate the first intranasal vaccine in development for COVID-19 in the country.
Phase I data from the intranasal formulation, is promising. Not only was the vaccine candidate well-tolerated, but the medication also blocks viral entry into the body. Full details of the study will be presented at a later date.
The company has suggested that an intranasal formulation of the vaccine provides a broad immune response at the site of infection, the mucus membranes of the nasal passages.
There is a school of thought that this type of administration will provide a stronger immune response than intramuscular injections currently used in multiple vaccines, including Bharat’s Covaxin, a whole virion inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, which has already been authorized in India. This is essential for blocking infection within an individual and the ability to transmit the virus.
The intranasal approach Bharat is taking with its second COVID-19 vaccine candidate is also one unsuccessfully attempted by Maryland-based Altimmune. In June, the company announced its intranasal vaccine candidate, dubbed AdCOVID, fell short in a Phase I study.