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iNCOVACC: A game changer in the battle against Covid 19

The perseverance and persistence of Indian scientists, government, and medical fraternity have achieved a milestone. India has become the first country globally to roll out a needleless intranasal vaccine against the dangerous Covid-19. 

The vaccine, called iNCOVACC, can be administered as both (a primary and a booster dose) in adults. iNCOVACC nasal vaccine has a recombinant adenoviral vector and is approved by the Drugs Control General of India, as a heterologous booster dose.

Initially, iNCOVACC will only be administered as a booster dose for adults vaccinated with two doses of Covid 19 vaccine. 

It is also available at the Medanta Medicity Gurugram. 


Why is there a need for a nasal COVID-19 vaccine? 


The most common route for any vaccine administration is intramuscular. Before the development of iNCOVACC, all the Covid 19 vaccines were also intramuscular, commonly administered into the upper arm. iNCOVACC, on the other hand, will be administered through the nose and eliminate the need for needles. 

The COVID-19 infection-causing virus enters the human body through the mucosa. Mucosa is a moist layer of tissues lining our nose and the lungs. The intranasal vaccine can act against Covid 19 causing viruses at the entry point (the nasal mucosa).

The intranasal vaccine drops can trigger the immune response in the nasal cells to fight the virus. 


COVID-19 intranasal vaccine: how does it work?


Let us first try to understand how other Covid vaccines work. They reduce infection as well as disease transmission. On one side, they activate T cells and destroy the infected cells, while on the other, they stimulate B cells to produce antibodies that neutralize pathogens. Thus these vaccines stop the virus from entering healthy cells. Though these antibodies circulate through the bloodstream and are present throughout the body, they may not be there at the nasal mucosal region- the entry point of the virus, and hence there is no quick protection from the virus. 

Thus intranasal vaccines can be more effective as they can end the transmission cycle and stop the infection and subsequent lung damage by counteracting the virus at the entry point through local immunity.

The intranasal vaccines stimulate B cells in the mucosa to make IgA antibodies- that destroy airway pathogens. These vaccines also stimulate mucosal T cells to memorize these pathogens to prevent future protection against them. 


What are some of the advantages of the iNCOVACC nasal vaccine?


India's iNCOVACC nasal vaccine is a game-changer in our battle against the dangerous COVID-19 infection. 

Some of the benefits of the nasal coronavirus vaccine are:

  • Less cost of vaccine administration as it has eliminated the need for needles and syringes and more trained persons. The needleless technique has made it more suitable for mass vaccination.
  • iNCOVACC is painless
  • Absence of needle-associated risks like infections and injuries 
  • Suitable for people with needle phobia 
  • Can be stored in a refrigerator 
  • There is no need for expensive transportation equipment
  • Effective in not only blocking the infection but can also curtail the transmission of COVID-19 virus.


Are there any side effects of the iNCOVACC vaccine?


Side effects can be similar to other vaccines. One may experience side effects such as:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Allergic reaction in rare cases



iNCOVACC is India's first intranasal Covid 19 vaccine. Initially, it will be used as a booster dose for fully vaccinated adults (who have received two doses of Covid 19 vaccine). This vaccine is a revolution in our battle against Covid 19 since it stimulates the immune reaction that blocks the infection at the entry point of the virus (nasal mucosa). iNCOVACC is now available at Medanta Medicity Gurugram.


Dr. Sushila Kataria
Internal Medicine
Meet The Doctor
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