India’s Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID-19 vaccine advances into next stage of trials

BENGALURU, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate has received regulatory approval for mid- to late-stage trials, the government’s ministry of science and technology said in a statement on Friday.

Early stage trials of the vaccine candidate, BBV154, has been completed in subjects aged 18 to 60 years, and the doses were found to be well tolerated, the statement said.

COVAXIN, the company’s COVID-19 vaccine already approved for emergency use approval in the country, is administered through an injection.

“Bharat Biotech’s BBV154 Covid Vaccine is the first intranasal vaccine being developed in the country entering into late-stage clinical trials,” said Renu Swarup, chairperson of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council.

A man rides his motorbike past a parked bus of India’s biotechnology company Bharat Biotech outside its office in Hyderabad, India July 3, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Bharat Biotech did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for additional details.

Coronavirus cases in India have sharply dropped from the devastating peak of the second wave seen in April and May, while experts have said widespread vaccination remains the country’s best defence against any further waves of the disease.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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