Covid-19 Intranasal Vaccine: A New Way To Protect Against The Coronavirus
Intranasal covid vaccines, an alternative to conventional jabs, offer a needle-free option for individuals who may experience fear or anxiety around injections, making a promising alternative for those seeking a more comfortable vaccination experience.
India's COVID-19 vaccine program has already protected millions of people at home and abroad. Now, with the rollout of the nasal vaccine, called iNCOVACC, the program has entered a new phase. The nasal COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech, is the world's first needleless intranasal vaccine against the virus.
Let’s understand how this newly developed nasal vaccine called iNCOVACC can boost India’s efforts in the battle against COVID-19!
What is an intranasal vaccine?
A nasal vaccine is a type of vaccine that is administered through the nose instead of an injection. It is a type of mucosal vaccination that targets the respiratory tract, which is the primary site of entry for many respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
How does a nasal vaccine work?
A nasal vaccine is administered by delivering the vaccine through the nose as 4 drops into each nostril. In contrast to other vaccines that primarily target the bloodstream, the nasal vaccine is intended to act on the mucosal lining, which is the virus's first point of contact with the body. By doing so, it activates an immune response that may prevent the infection from taking hold, essentially blocking its spread.
This approach is known as "sterilizing immunity" by scientists. Early studies have shown it to be effective in generating a robust immune response, particularly in the respiratory tract and nose.
The immunological response to a nasal vaccine involves the creation of antibodies, which are proteins that can recognize and neutralize the virus or bacteria. In addition, nasal vaccines can also stimulate the production of other immune cells, which can help to clear the virus or bacteria from the body.
An intranasal vaccine stimulates a broad immune response – neutralizing IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses. Immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa) – essential for blocking both infection and transmission of COVID-19.
What is the age group for the intranasal vaccine?
The nasal vaccine is now licensed for use in the 18+ age group for primary immunization against COVID-19 in an emergency situation.
What are the potential advantages of an intranasal vaccine?
The nasal route for vaccination offers several benefits, including:
- Excellent potential for immune response
- Non-invasive, needle-free administration
- Ease of administration
- Elimination of needle-associated risks
- High compliance
Overall, nasal vaccines have the potential to provide a safe, effective, and convenient method for vaccinating large populations against infectious diseases.
How effective is an intranasal vaccine compared to other types of vaccines?
Nasal vaccinations have demonstrated promising results in preclinical and clinical research, especially for respiratory infections such as influenza and COVID-19. Here is the reasons why the nasal vaccine is more effective:
- A nasal dose not only protects against Covid-19 but also prevents disease spread by providing another type of immunity that occurs primarily in the cells lining the nose and throat.
- The nasal vaccination targets immune cells in the mucosal membrane and tissue, providing systemic and mucosal immunity in other sites such as the lungs and intestines. As a result, a nasal vaccine may be more effective at immunizing large groups against the deadly infection and preventing even mild symptoms from developing.
Is the intranasal vaccine enough to fight against COVID?
The effectiveness of a COVID-19 nasal vaccine in fighting the virus would be based on various criteria, including the vaccine's specific properties, clinical trial results, the prevalence of circulating strains of the virus, and the individual's age, health status, and immune response. However, even after having a vaccine, it is vital to continue to exercise additional preventive measures like wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and frequently washing hands.
What are the potential side effects of an intranasal vaccine?
Nasal vaccinations, like any other vaccine, may cause side effects. However, the side effects of nasal vaccines are often mild and similar to those of other vaccines. Nasal vaccinations may cause the following side effects:
It's crucial to note that these adverse effects are usually milder and temporary, lasting only a few days at most. Therefore, the advantages of vaccination usually outweigh the risks of adverse effects. If you have any concerns regarding the potential side effects of a nasal vaccine, you should talk to the doctor.
Who shouldn't get a COVID-19 intranasal vaccine?
It is important to note that these guidelines may change when more data from clinical studies become available, and new COVID-19 vaccine formulations are developed. People should contact their healthcare physician to determine whether a COVID-19 nasal vaccine is appropriate for them based on their specific conditions.
However, there are certain groups of individuals who should consult their healthcare provider before getting vaccinated, including:
- Individuals who have previously experienced severe adverse reactions to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine or a previous dosage of the same vaccine.
- Individuals who are currently suffering COVID-19 symptoms should wait until they have recovered and are out of isolation to get vaccinated.
- Immunocompromised, pregnant, or breastfeeding women may need additional consideration or precautions when receiving the vaccine and should consult their healthcare provider.
The nasal vaccine, called iNCOVACC will be available in government and private hospitals. The precautionary dose can be scheduled through the CoWin App. Because it eliminates needle-associated hazards and can reduce vaccine hesitancy, the nasal vaccine has the potential to revolutionize the fight against the virus and provide a major boost to India's vaccination program.
With India's new weapon in the fight against COVID-19, say goodbye to needle phobia and hello to hassle-free nasal protection!